September 11, 2014
More than 20 million people worldwide are in some form of forced labor, according to the International Labor Organization’s 2012 estimate of forced labor. Unfortunately, Colorado is not exempt from human trafficking. According to the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking, Colorado is a source, transit and destination state for human trafficking. To discuss the state of current human trafficking legislation – statewide, nationally and internationally – the HTC is hosting a Town Hall meeting on September 23.
HTC Director Claude d’Estrée explains, “Humans are being trafficked into brothels, massage parlors and spas, but the larger problem in the U.S. and Colorado is in other areas of labor. They are found caring for our children as au pairs or house cleaners. They are picking oranges, lettuce and strawberries that find their way to our dinner tables from California and the Midwest.”
Despite Colorado’s standing as a transit and destination state, according to a 2013 report by the Polaris Project, the state was lacking laws to adequately address human trafficking and “should take major steps to improve and implement its laws.”
During the 2014 Colorado legislative session, a bipartisan group of lawmakers began to address this shortfall. House Bill 14-1273, sponsored by state representatives Beth McCann (D-Denver) and Jared Wright (R-Grand Junction) and state senators Linda Newell (D-Littleton) and Gail Schwartz (D-Snowmass Village), overwhelmingly passed both chambers of the legislature and was signed by Governor Hickenlooper. As a result, on July 1 new and revised statutes went into effect—more closely aligning Colorado’s laws with Federal regulations.
To further discuss the current state of human trafficking in Colorado, the HTC is hosting the upcoming legislative town hall. Panelists at the town hall include:
The event will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 23, from 6:30 – 8 p.m. in the University of Denver’s Anderson Academic Commons. It is free and open to the public. Space is limited and RSVPs are requested. Please RSVP online.
Event co-hosts include Colorado State Senators Irene Aguilar and Linda Newell; Colorado State Representatives Beth McCann, Paul Rosenthal and Dan Pabon; and members of the Denver City Council Robin Kneich and Paul Lopez.