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Commission announces recommendations to prevent human trafficking, redefine "prostitution"

woman silhouetted on street
Nuno Silva

The state's Human Trafficking Commission has announced more than 30 legislative recommendations mainly focused on prostitution. The recommendations include decreasing the penalties for those providing sexual activities and increasing the penalties for those purchasing it, as well as replacing the word "prostitution" in the penal code with the term "commercial sexual activity." 

The Commission is led by Kelly Carter. She says it's important to recognize the imbalance of power between the parties involved. 

"We hear the same sort of things time and again of a victim of trafficking being perceived as a person who’s making a choice or that there are no consequences from the actions that they've made at the hands of another individual," Carter says. 

She says the recommendations can be divided into three subgroups: training improvements, protections for trafficking victims, and redefining prostitution within the criminal justice system. 

Prostitution as a term isn't defined by Michigan law and carries societal stigma, Carter says. 

The commission says they have no specific timeline, but plan to work with legislators to work the recommendations into law. 

A more detailed breakdown of the recommendations can be found here.

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