Governor Signed AG Fox’s Bill Strengthening Montana’s Human Trafficking Laws Today
HELENA – Today, the governor signed House Bill 89 into law. Sponsored by Rep. Kim Dudik of Missoula and introduced at the request of Attorney General Tim Fox, the bill updates Montana’s human trafficking laws to reflect the model state human trafficking act.
HB 89 has three primary components:
- Establishes comprehensive definitions and penalties for human trafficking crimes.
- Provides essential protections for human trafficking victims.
- Creates new opportunities for the Montana Department of Justice to raise awareness about human trafficking and educate the public and law enforcement on how to detect and prevent detect human trafficking.
“Human trafficking happens right here in Montana, and our laws need the clear definitions and penalties established in this bill,” Attorney General Fox said. “Combatting modern-day slavery isn’t just about bringing perpetrators to justice, but also taking a victim-centered approach to helping those whose lives have been destroyed by these heinous crimes. This measure builds on my office’s ongoing work over the last two years to do both.” Attorney General Fox went on to thank the Town Pump Foundation, Soroptimists International of Helena and Whitefish, the Montana Motor Carriers Association, and Watkins Shepard Trucking for their assistance in outreaching to the public on the issue.
“It has been an honor working with Attorney General Fox on this important bill that provides essential protections for Montanans,” Rep. Dudik said. “We need to send a clear message that in Montana, we value our citizens and will not tolerate any form of modern-day slavery.”
House Bill 89 will take effect on July 1, 2015. The full text is available online here: http://leg.mt.gov/bills/2015/billhtml/HB0089.htm.
More information on human trafficking, as well as a printable awareness poster, is available on the Attorney General’s Office website at www.dojmt.gov/stopht.
Key facts about human trafficking (from www.polarisproject.org):
- There are more people in slavery today than at the height of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
- The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally, including 5.5 million children. Fifty-five percent are women and girls.
- The International Labor Organization estimates that forced labor and human trafficking is a $150 billion industry worldwide.
- In 2013, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline received multiple reports of human trafficking cases in all 50 states.
- It’s estimated that 100,000 children are in the sex trade in the U.S. each year.
To report suspected human trafficking cases, or to request help, call 1-888-3737-888 or text BeFree (233733).