After a 62% increase in human trafficking last year, our state is now starting to ramp up the fight.
A new law aimed at cracking down on Human Trafficking has just passed through the NC Senate Committee. Senate Bill 548 would increase the charges for those convicted of human trafficking crimes to a higher class of felony with longer prison sentences, and it would add new regulations for massage therapy businesses in our state to prevent them from being used by human traffickers (most human trafficking brothels across our state are being fronted by massage parlors and spas).
“Illicit massage and body-work establishments are the second leading industry for the prevalence of human trafficking. In North Carolina, we may be particularly susceptible to this abuse of the law,” commented Senator Shirley Randleman.
The new bill would strengthen the N.C. Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy’s licensing process, and any unlicensed massage businesses would be given misdemeanor charges. All sexual activity would also be banned in the licensed businesses.
The bill also requires human trafficking awareness signs to be placed around adult entertainment businesses, businesses that sell alcohol, hospitals, and highway rest stops across the state. The sign would include information about the National Human Trafficking Hotline — 1-888-373-7888 to help victims.
It’s now estimated that at least 1,700 girls are trafficked into sex slavery every year in North Carolina.
What more do you think should be done to stop this alarming trend?