Jesiel Legislation to Counter Human-Trafficking On Verge of House Passage

SPRINGFIELD – Today, State Representative Sheri Jesiel’s (R-Winthrop Harbor) legislation to assist victims of human-trafficking in Illinois was passed out of committee with unanimous support. The legislation, House Bill 2556, creates the Human-Trafficking Resource Center Notice Act. Human-trafficking has become surprisingly prevalent in Illinois in recent years and Jesiel has taken the issue head-on with the support of fellow suburban Representative Barb Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake).

“Human-trafficking is one of those issues many of us don’t consider a problem in our daily lives because we aren’t normally directly confronted with it,” said Jesiel. “However, this disturbing practice is in-fact shockingly common in our communities. Right under our noses, human beings are kidnapped and forced into servitude for labor or sexual service. Sadly, this is happening in businesses just down the street.”

The Human-Trafficking Resource Center Notice Act has a simple goal, but one that could have a tremendous impact to counter-acting this terrible practice. The legislation provides that specified businesses and establishments conspicuously provide information concerning the availability of the National Human-Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC). Not only will this legislation help victims of this abhorrent crime gain access to the resources they need to overcome the trauma they’ve experienced, but also be an avenue for anyone who observes or suspects that trafficking is occurring to be able to report it to the proper authorities.

The NHTRC, which formed at the end of 2007, offers tip lines and counseling for not just victims, but anyone who suspects human-trafficking may be occurring. Through NHTRC, almost 19,000 cases have been brought against human-traffickers nationwide and saved thousands from this incredibly emotional and painful practice.

“Human-trafficking is unfortunately a lucrative industry, and anything that can be done to help vulnerable victims must be done.” said Jesiel. “I’m pleased that my colleagues on the Judiciary and Civil Committee share this realization and I look forward to this bill passing the House soon so that more lives will be spared from this troubling practice.”