While prostitution is illegal in Michigan, people are slowly waking up to the fact that many of the women involved are the victims of the situation. They need help, not a criminal record.
There were 383 cases of human trafficking in Michigan reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline in 2018. Many more cases will have gone unreported. Figures from Polaris, who runs the hotline, suggest 80% of human trafficking victims end up being sold into prostitution.
These days prostitution does not need someone to stand on a street corner; it happens behind closed doors in quiet suburban neighborhoods. Mobile phones and the internet allow traffickers to sell women online for sex.
How do women end up being trafficked into prostitution?
- Foster homes make for easy pickings: Reports suggest 80% of the women who are forced into prostitution are sourced from foster homes. Many girls end up in foster homes because they have suffered sexual abuse. They are an easy target for traffickers.
- Drugs make the victims easy to control: Get someone addicted to a drug such as heroin or crack cocaine, and they cease to be in full control of their choices. The addiction can be so strong that people will literally do anything for the next hit. Traffickers frequently use drugs to control the women they sell into prostitution.
- Betrayed by people they trusted: Most victims of human trafficking in the U.S.A. were groomed for it by people they trusted, family and friends. Many were children when they were first trafficked.
If you have been picked up for prostitution, you may think the law is against you. But with the help of a skilled attorney, it could be your chance to explain your story and change your life.