Human Trafficking

  • Collins: Human trafficking is hiding in plain sight

    collins 013120CHICAGO– As an international transportation hub, Chicago is a major venue for one illicit industry: Human trafficking.

    Targeting victims who often have tenuous legal status or are otherwise without resources, human trafficking often goes unreported unless concerned citizens discover it and act to inform the authorities. As Human Trafficking Awareness Month comes to a close, State Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) announced legislation that would expand awareness training to include more types of service jobs in Illinois, giving employees the tools to spot and report human trafficking.

    “Human trafficking is industrialized kidnapping and modern-day slavery,” Collins said. “By expanding this training program, we are empowering more citizens to know when and how to step forward and do the right thing. These crimes against humanity are hiding in plain sight here in Illinois, and we must all be vigilant.”

    In Illinois, the Department of Human Services is developing training on how to spot the signs of human trafficking and report them to authorities. Once developed, employers in the hotel and motel industries will be required to periodically provide the training to employees. Collins’ legislation would expand that training requirement to include restaurants and truck stops as well.

    “This is especially urgent at a time when Illinois has committed to expanding gambling, which promotes the sort of travel and rise in entertainment and hospitality that can create the conditions that human traffickers seek to exploit,” Collins said. “By doing this, we’re giving working people the power to fight crime that enslaves people and undercuts law-abiding business.”

    Collins’ legislation has been drafted and awaits consideration in the Illinois Senate.

  • Glowiak Hilton’s measure to fight human trafficking now law

    Sen. Suzy Glowiak HiltonOAKBROOK TERRACE – Illinois now has a new law in place to help some of the people who have the most power to fight one of the fastest-growing criminal activities in the world: Hospitality workers.

    Glowiak Hilton (D-Western Springs) championed House Bill 3101, which would require hotels and motels to train employees to recognize the signs of human trafficking and know what to do when reporting it to authorities. It was signed into law on Friday.

    “This new law will arm hospitality workers with the tools to spot and report human trafficking,” Glowiak Hilton said. “Just like we have discovered that teachers or hairdressers can be the ones who most readily spot the telltale signs of domestic violence, we’re learning that hotel employees might be the ones who spot human trafficking. This new training will give hospitality workers the knowledge and build the confidence to be able to identify signs of human trafficking and act quickly to do the right thing.”

  • Suzy Glowiak passes measure to fight human trafficking in Illinois

    Sen. GlowiakSPRINGFIELD – One of the fastest-growing criminal activities in the world remains largely invisible, but that could change as State Senator Suzy Glowiak works to provide hospitality workers with the tools to spot and report on human trafficking.

    Glowiak (D-Western Springs) passed House Bill 3101 on Tuesday, which would require hotels and motels to train employees to recognize the signs of human trafficking and know what to do when reporting it to authorities.

    “Just as we’ve discovered that teachers or hairdressers can be the ones who most readily spot the telltale signs of domestic violence, we’re learning that hotel employees might be the ones who spot human trafficking,” Glowiak said. “We all are taught to step up when we see wrongdoing, and this training will give hospitality workers the knowledge and build the confidence to be able to identify signs of human trafficking and act quickly to do the right thing.”

  • Veto override will combat human trafficking, protect victims from deportation

    Voices Act

    The Illinois Senate took steps to combat human trafficking Wednesday by voting to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the Voices Act. The bill would empower immigrant trafficking victims to come forward by protecting them from deportation if they help bring to justice the people behind these human trafficking rings.

    “These traffickers prey on underprivileged women and children, taking advantage of their fear of law enforcement to subject them to unthinkable atrocities,” State Senator Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago) said. “The Voices Act is an effort to fight back and go after the real criminals – human traffickers.”

    Assistant Majority Leader Tony Munoz (D-Chicago) joined members of the Senate in overriding the veto of legislation that helps human trafficking and crime victims obtain visa certification paperwork from law enforcement within 90 business days. Munoz released the following statement after the vote:

    “As rhetoric from the White House continues to instill fear in our immigrant communities, we want to continue encouraging victims of human trafficking and other severe crimes to work with law enforcement. I’m glad we were able to move this legislation forward and hope to see it enacted into law.”

    State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) issued the following statement:

    “The governor’s veto was an ill-advised, knee-jerk response to the word ‘immigrant’ becoming politically charged over the last several months. This is a commonsense piece of legislation that simply expedites a process already in place to assist victims of terrible crimes like kidnapping, rape and human trafficking. I am glad we were able to put partisan politics aside today and override the governor’s veto, hopefully creating a speedier path to safety for those who come to our country fleeing unimaginable circumstances.”

    Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) issued the following statement:

    “This legislation should have been easy for any governor to sign. What it does is simple – it helps people who are fleeing violence and human trafficking get to a safe place. Beyond that, it helps our law enforcement agencies investigate and prosecute those crimes by empowering victims to work with police. Everyone deserves justice, no matter their skin color or their immigration status. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue, and I am glad we were able to override the governor’s politically motivated veto.”

    State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) released the following statement after the vote:

    “Victims of human trafficking and other severe crimes need our support as they help capture from those committing crimes against them and escape terrible situations. This legislation creates a process that ensures they have the documentation necessary to request a visa and encourages them to work with law enforcement. I encourage my colleagues in the House to approve this measure.”

  • Senate helps crime victims, overrides governor’s veto

    jjc 053118SPRINGFIELD — As part of an ongoing effort to combat human trafficking, the Illinois Senate voted Wednesday to speed up the process through which victims can get federal immigration relief. The 40-12 Senate vote set aside a veto by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

    Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, the chief sponsor of SB 34, issued the following statement regarding the successful vote to override the governor and protect victims of human trafficking and other heinous crimes.

    “Just as lawmakers have come together to raise awareness and fight back against human trafficking, we came together to make sure the existing process works for these victims. This system was created to empower victims to come forward knowing they’ll be protected if they help us bring to justice the people behind these horrible crimes. The veto was a mistake and today we are one step closer to setting the record straight.”

    Background information:

    In 2000, the federal government created special immigration visas for victims of human trafficking and other specific crimes who work with police. The list of crimes includes: abduction and kidnapping, blackmail, female genital mutilation, being held hostage, incest, involuntary servitude, murder, rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, slave trade, torture and trafficking.

    Information about the immigration relief offered to these victims by US Citizenship and Immigration Services can be found here:

    https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/victims-human-trafficking-other-crimes

    SB34 — known as the VOICES Act — simply puts a 90-business day deadline on local authorities to wrap up the paperwork required by the federal visa process. The visas and the process already exist. The proposal simply adds a deadline for action. If local authorities don’t believe the person should qualify for a visa, they can state that in the federal paperwork.

    The override effort now moves to the Illinois House. If House members similarly override the veto of SB 34 it becomes law.

     

  • Martinez appointed to Human Trafficking Task Force

    Martinez04212016Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) was appointed by Illinois Senate President John Cullerton to the state’s Human Trafficking Task Force yesterday.

    “There have been too many victims in Illinois and more has to be done to address this problem,” Martinez said. “I look forward to working with members of the task force on developing strategies for preventing human trafficking and protecting the rights and safety of victims.”

    According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, there have been 837 cases of human trafficking in Illinois since 2007.

    The task force will conduct a study on human trafficking in Illinois and hold hearings to develop a state plan to address human trafficking. A report of recommendations must be submitted to the governor and General Assembly by June 30, 2017.

    Martinez and other members of the task force will serve without compensation. The task force was created by HB 2822, legislation Martinez co-sponsored that was signed into law this summer.

    If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center toll-free hotline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-373-7888 to speak with a specially trained Hotline Advocate. Support is provided in more than 200 languages.

  • Holmes appointed to state’s Human Trafficking Task Force

    holmes 071916AURORA — To research, investigate and determine the full scope of the problem of human trafficking in Illinois, the Illinois Senate President named State Sen. Linda Holmes to a newly formed task force today.

    “Illinois is a travel hub and a melting pot for the United States, and as such it’s our duty to fight to uncover a crime that thrives on exploiting people by hiding them in plain sight,” Holmes said. “I’m eager to begin this important work, not just for Illinois, but as a part of the international community.”

    President John Cullerton named Holmes, D-Aurora, and two other Democratic senators to the Human Trafficking Task Force, which was formed as a result of House Bill 2822, passed earlier this year. Per the enacting legislation, the task force will consist of 14 members that include three appointed by each caucus leader of the General Assembly and two appointed by the governor.

    The task force is charged with providing the General Assembly a comprehensive report on human trafficking, including recommendations for action, by June 30, 2017.