On the first day of the 2013 legislative session, a resolution introduced by State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) recognizing Human Trafficking Awareness Day unanimously passed the Senate.
The resolution designated January 11, 2013 as “Human Trafficking Awareness Day” in Pennsylvania, a day to work toward ending human trafficking around the world by raising awareness about recognizing this harrowing crime.
“I am proud to be a vocal supporter of the cause to end modern day slavery worldwide, and today we have taken an important first step here in Pennsylvania to achieve that goal,” Leach said. “By educating the public about the realities of human trafficking – that it can, and does, occur anywhere and to anyone – we are shining a light on this issue and taking a stand against perpetrators.”
The resolution, which commended the Commonwealth for its “tradition of advancing fundamental human rights”, stated that “the efforts by individuals, businesses, organizations and governing bodies to promote the observance of ‘National Human Trafficking Awareness Day’ on January 11 of each year represents one of the many examples of the ongoing commitment to actively oppose human trafficking.”
The resolution continued, “Although laws to prosecute perpetrators of human trafficking and to assist and protect victims of human trafficking have been enacted in the United States, awareness of the issues surrounding human trafficking by those people most likely to come into contact with victims is essential for effective enforcement because the techniques that traffickers use to keep their victims enslaved severely limit self-reporting.”
One of the aforementioned laws recently enacted by Pennsylvania is Act 197, signed into law by Gov. Corbett in October and based on a bill introduced by Leach. The law requires the Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline number to be placed prominently in certain establishments and locations in an effort to curb the incidence of human trafficking in Pennsylvania and help victims.
The Department of Health and Human Services funds the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) hotline — a resource for the community to report suspicious activity that may be trafficking-related. The hotline is free to call, and operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This resource saves lives and comes at no cost to the Commonwealth or its citizens.