SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) passed legislation unanimously Tuesday to help stop human trafficking in Illinois.
“Illinois leads the nation in our response to trafficking victims, and the passage of HB 5278 will allow us to continue to lead on this critical issue that causes intense harm to women and children in our communities,” Cassidy said. “For too long, these victims were regarded as criminal defendants and we have begun the work of shifting law enforcement and community attitudes toward these victims. By casting a wider net, the authorities can better prosecute those who make money off of another human’s suffering.”
House Bill 5278 will enable law enforcement to better prosecute traffickers and provide additional protections to trafficked youth. The bill also ensures adequate resources for treatment services when victims are rescued from trafficking. Recent studies done by the University of Chicago, DePaul University, and the Polaris Project indicate that Chicago’s involvement in the sex trade is growing. The Chicago area’s status as a transportation and tourism hub has made the area a very attractive location for human trafficking.
“Most of the time, people think of human trafficking as an international issue that does not affect their community, but the problem is growing and has become a local issue,” Cassidy said. “This legislation is a significant step to stop human trafficking in our state.”