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U.S. State Department Delegation Meets with Montgomery County's Human Trafficking Task Force

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, August 8, 2017

U.S. State Department Delegation Meets with 

Montgomery County’s Human Trafficking

Task Force

Councilmember Hucker’s office will host discussion with 19-person international delegation on County’s efforts to combat human trafficking on Aug. 10

 

ROCKVILLE, Md., August 7—On Thursday, August 10 from 2:30-4:30 p.m. members of Montgomery County’s Human Trafficking Task Force will host an international U.S. State Department delegation to discuss the County’s efforts to combat human trafficking. This meeting will take place in the Third Floor Council Conference Room at the Council Office Building, which is located at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville, Md.  Councilmembers Hucker and Rice serve on the County’s Human Trafficking Task Force.

The U. S. State Department delegation comprises 19 representatives from 18 countries. They are visiting Maryland on a program titled “Combatting Trafficking in Persons.” In addition to learning more about the County’s efforts to combat human trafficking, the delegation is hoping to gain insight into victim support programs that protect children.  The delegation also will discuss the mission and activities of the County’s Human Trafficking Task Force.

“Human trafficking is a difficult problem to solve because of the insidious ways that men, women and children can be lured into the hands of traffickers,” said Councilmember Hucker, who serves on the Council’s Public Safety Committee and the Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee. “Enforcement is a key piece of the puzzle, but we also have to work together on strategies that eliminate demand.  This international discussion will help us all learn more about best practices.” 

Part of this international exchange will focus on policy initiatives for enforcement and protection.  In 2015 the Council enacted two bills that discourage human trafficking in the County—Bill 9-15, Health and Sanitation, Bodywork Establishment – License, and Bill 39-15, Offenses Purchase of Prostitution –  Prohibited.  

Bill 9-15 required “bodyworks” establishments in the County to obtain a license from the County’s Department of Health and Human Services.  This was part of an effort to eliminate reflexology, acupressure and massage businesses that were being used as fronts for human trafficking. 

Bill 39-15 specifically prohibited the purchase of prostitution and established an additional County enforcement method to supplement Maryland’s existing criminal law. The County law authorizes the police to issue either civil or criminal citations to customers for purchasing prostitution in the County. Civil citations are prosecuted by the County Attorney’s Office and can result in a maximum fine of $500 for a first violation and $750 for subsequent violations. Criminal citations are prosecuted by the State’s Attorney and could result in both a fine up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail.

On July 25, the Council introduced Bill 27-17, Human Rights and Civil Liberties - Human Trafficking Prevention Committee – Established, which would make the County’s Human Trafficking Task Force a permanent anti-human trafficking body in the County.  The Montgomery County Human Trafficking Prevention Committee would have the power to advise the Executive and Council. The Committee could also raise and spend money on human trafficking related issues and build on the work currently being done by the County’s Human Trafficking Task Force.  A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for September 19 at 1:30 p.m.  Bill 27-17 can be viewed at:

http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/COUNCIL/Resources/Files/bill/2017/Packets/20170725_5B.pdf .

The Montgomery County Police Department investigated 29 cases of human trafficking in the County in 2016.  Three of these cases involved minors. According to data provided by the National Human Trafficking Hotline, there were nearly 540 cases of human trafficking in Maryland in 2016.   

If you are a victim of human trafficking, or know someone who needs assistance, contact the County’s Abused Persons Program at 240-777-1355 or visit their website at www.vasap.org .

 

 

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Release ID: 17-248
Media Contact: Sonya Healy 2407777926