WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 11, 2013) – Polaris Project today hailed the Uniform Law Commission’s (ULC) approval of a uniform act that will guide state legislatures when drafting legislation to combat human trafficking in the United States. The ULC drafting committee on human trafficking examined existing anti-trafficking statutes from all over the country and met with law enforcement, prosecutors, and anti-trafficking organizations in order to create uniformity in trafficking laws across all 50 states. The ULC measure encourages an approach that increases support for victims of the crime while holding traffickers accountable. Polaris Project’s Policy Team served as official observers and central advisors to the ULC throughout the two-year drafting process.
“The ULC’s uniform act on human trafficking is a major milestone in the fight against labor and sex trafficking in the U.S. It provides a solid foundation for state legislatures to fill in the gaps so they can more effectively hold traffickers accountable and provide necessary support for victims,” said Bradley Myles, CEO of Polaris Project. “A child victim of sex trafficking should not be arrested and prosecuted for prostitution in Pennsylvania, while another victim of the same crime receives services and support in Illinois. This type of disparity between states is inherently unfair and must be remedied. Lagging states can take tangible steps forward by adopting the provisions within the ULC model law.”
Human trafficking is a fast growing criminal industry, with traffickers making billions in profits by using force, fraud, or coercion to rob victims of their freedom. In order to support the hundreds of thousands of victims forced to provide commercial sex, labor, or services against their will here in the U.S., the ULC’s uniform act includes provisions that:
- Criminalize labor and sex trafficking.
- Establish a “safe harbor” for sexually exploited children under 18 years of age by granting immunity from prosecution for prostitution and increasing protection and specialized services.
- Provide mechanisms for victims to vacate and remove from their records unjust convictions for prostitution and other non-violent offences they were forced to commit as a result of being trafficked.
- Offer victim assistance and protection, including remedies to address immigration issues for trafficking victims brought into the U.S.
- Require posting of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) hotline (1-888-373-7888) in locations where victims of human trafficking are likely to come into contact with it.
“The ULC drafting process was a herculean effort two years in the making. With so many stakeholders pouring their opinions into the process, this strong and diverse bill reflects an incredible momentum to eradicate human trafficking and support survivors. Polaris Project was honored to be involved in the process as a central advisor, and we look forward to working closely with the Uniform Law Commission to ensure that these important victim protection and assistance measures are passed in every state,” continued Myles.
Polaris Project is a nationally recognized leader in advancing state and federal laws that increase services for human trafficking survivors, provide new tools for law enforcement and prosecutors, and stop human traffickers who historically operate in a high-profit, low-risk environment. Since 2004, Polaris Project’s policy program has worked in 49 states and has contributed to the passage of more than 100 anti-human trafficking laws.
The Uniform Law Commission is a non-profit association of practicing lawyers, judges, legislators and legislative staff, and law professors who draft and seek implementation of non-partisan, uniform laws across the states and territories.
To get help, report a tip, or request information or training, call The National Human Trafficking Resource Center at: 1-888-373-7888 or send a text to BeFree (233733).
About Polaris Project
Polaris Project is a leading organization in the global fight against human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Named after the North Star “Polaris” that guided slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad, Polaris Project is transforming the way that individuals and communities respond to human trafficking, in the U.S. and globally. By successfully pushing for stronger federal and state laws, operating the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline (1-888-3737-888), conducting trainings, and providing vital services to victims of trafficking, Polaris Project creates long-term solutions that move our society closer to a world without slavery. Learn more atwww.polarisproject.org.