Below is an Action Alert message from "The Underground" regarding Human Trafficking and House Bill No. 6657. Please consider showing support for this bill by sending a letter to your house member. A sample letter is provided below that you can cut and paste. Your participation is greatly appreciated.
TESTIMONY & ADVOCACY
H.B. No. 6657, AN ACT CONCERNING HUMAN TRAFFICKING, raises some important and necessary statutory remedies to issues regarding trafficking in Connecticut. Of particular importance to The Underground are these sections:
Section 3: establish an affirmative defense for trafficking in persons in the case of a victim of trafficking
Some traffickers use the children they victimize to groom, recruit, and exploit other children or engage in other criminal activity as part of their victimization. This legislation helps ensure survivors of child trafficking have legal options that acknowledge their victimization related to any charges they could face.
Section 4: redefine "sex trafficking"
Child sex trafficking often involves the exchange of drugs, food, shelter, and other items of value; many of the children served by Love146 were exploited for something other than money. This legislation changes language from “fee” to “anything of value,” and helps ensure victims aren’t ignored or dismissed. This would also align with the Federal definition of trafficking.
Section 7: extend vacatur relief to a person who committed certain crimes if a conviction is based on participation in the crime by the convicted person due to such person being a victim of trafficking"
For adult survivors, prior convictions arising from having been trafficked pose an undue burden to rebuilding their lives. Having to explain to employers or landlords the circumstances under which the prior crimes were committed automatically puts survivors at a disadvantage and can expose them to shame and re-traumatization. Vacatur allows survivors a path by which to move forward towards the independence, dignity and autonomy that was denied to them by their traffickers. It also affirms that they are not the ones who are the criminals, but rather it was their traffickers who bear the full measure of culpability.
Please watch the testimonies below from Annmarie Boulay (CEO of The Underground), Yvette Young (AVP of Programs and Advocacy at The Village for Families and Children) and Erin Williamson (Vice President of Global Programs and Strategy for Love 146).
AWARENESS & ONLINE SAFETY
"Cybersecurity Experts Warn Parents About Website Growing Popularity with Children" on WFSB, Eyewitness News
Tammy Sneed, Director of the Office of Human Trafficking Services at the CT Dept. of Children and Families talked to WFSB about internet safety and raised concerns about a new website that is popular with kids. Please watch the interview at the link below
HOW YOU CAN HELP TODAY
The greater the number of advocates, the greater the chance of change! You can help us today by sending an email to your local representative (see link to left to find your representative's contact information).
You can find your representative here and send your letter of support for 6675 today!
Feel free to adapt the example email below with your own words and be a part of standing up for survivors here in our state. Here is a sample email you can copy, paste, and adapt to your own words:
Subject Line: Support HB 6657, An Act Concerning Human Trafficking
Honorable House Member,
I’m [Your Name] from [Town] and I’m writing in support of HB 6657. [Optional: Share why child trafficking matters to you]. Please support children affected by trafficking by ensuring that victims who have criminal conduct related to their victimization have legal options that acknowledge their victimization, and recognizing that trafficking often involves the exchange of items of value beyond just money.
In addition, we are asking for your support of adult survivors of trafficking by approving the vacatur provision that would allow those harmed by trafficking to fully exercise the freedoms that they were denied while being exploited.
Please pass this bill and send it to the Senate for a vote.
[Town or Zip Code]