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School and Program Updates

School and Program Updates

Maryland: Strengthens Efforts to Fight Human Trafficking and Support Survivors

Three new Maryland laws passed this year will strengthen the ability of law enforcement to prosecute the perpetrators of human trafficking and increase protections and enhance human services that support the victims of sex and labor trafficking. The Support, Advocacy, Freedom and Empowerment (SAFE) Center for Human Trafficking Survivors, based in the University of Maryland School of Public Health, supported and advocated for the three anti-trafficking bills passed by the Maryland General Assembly during the 2019 legislative session and signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan in May.

The SAFE Center is an initiative of the University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State – a collaboration between the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD). It provides survivor-centered and trauma-informed services that empower trafficking survivors to heal and reclaim their lives.

As a result of the advocacy of the SAFE Center’s chief counsel for policy and legal advocacy, Ms. Amanda Rodriguez, and director Ms. Susan Esserman, along with the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, the essential support and testimony of survivors, and the leadership of Maryland legislators, for the three bills which successfully became Maryland law. They included: the Child Sex Trafficking Screening and Services Act (SB688/HB827), the Anti-Exploitation Act of 2019(SB690/HB734) / Criminalizing Labor Trafficking in Maryland and Criminal Law – Human Trafficking & Prostitution Offenses 2019 (SB689/HB871).

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