RALEIGH, N.C. (AP/WNCN) — North Carolina has laws punishing human traffickers, but some House members say more must be done to prevent young women from entering the forced sex trade and help those rescued from it get their lives back on track.
North Carolina is among the top 10 states in the country for human trafficking activity.
Tuesday, representatives, including two from Wake County, introduced House Bill 910.
The bill is a pilot program to educate students in grades sixth, eighth and tenth about the dangers and signs of human trafficking. It also gives law enforcement more training and funding for shelter beds and mental health services for survivors.
Joy Anderson, a survivor, said, “I’d want that for every victim that’s being forced to do this. I want them to be out too, so I know that they need help.”
Right now the bill states it would gather data from three counties: Wake, Mecklenburg and New Hanover.
The measure also envisions funding to help nonprofits create shelters that house sex-slave victims and to provide mental health services.
The tentative price tag is more than $50 million over two years. Rep. Bill Brawley of Matthews says he’d ultimately like to see a program go statewide and to increase penalties against traffickers.