State representatives sponsor legislation to address human trafficking in Alabama

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Special to the
Opelika Observer

Rep. Merika Coleman (D-Birmingham), Assistant House Minority Leader, and Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur), Chair of the Education Policy Committee, passed three of four human trafficking bills out of committee on April 24. HB261, HB262, and HB264 were unanimously passed out of committee.
HB261, HB262, and HB264 received their second reading on the House floor April 25, and will be eligible for debate as early as April 30. HB260 had a public hearing in the Health committee and will receive a committee vote next week.
HB260 and HB261 would mandate human trafficking training on victim identification and trauma-centered care for all healthcare professionals and new commercial drivers, respectively. HB262 and HB264 clarify existing law to ensure that potential victims have the most protection possible.
Coleman and Collins were joined by more than 30 entities involved in combating human trafficking including: FBI, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, SCLC, Alabama Association of District Attorneys, Alabama Trucking Association, and more.
“There are more slaves in the U.S. today than at any other point in our country’s history. The I- 20 corridor from Atlanta to Birmingham is the most trafficked section of interstate in the entire nation,” said Doug Gilmer, Resident Agent in Charge with U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Press Conference speakers included:
Carolyn Potter – Chief Executive Officer, The WellHouse Jan Bell – Executive Director, Children’s Policy Council of Jefferson County Carrie Hill – Child Trafficking Solutions Project, Family Court of Jefferson County Doug Gilmer – Resident Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Darren Beams – Lieutenant, Tuscaloosa Police Department Barbara Fowler – Owner, Fowler Davis Pat McCay – Chair, Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force
It’s estimated that 27 million people worldwide are “Modern Day Slaves.” Human trafficking is estimated annually at $110 million in Alabama and $150 billion worldwide.


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