Philadelphia First Panel on Human Trafficking
With 116 cases of human trafficking reported this year, the Philadelphia Commission for Women decided to host its first panel in the Philadelphia region. Hosted in conjunction with Covenant House PA and the Salvation Army, the panel hoped to raise awareness about the issue of human trafficking throughout the city and also bring two new bills back up to vote to ensure that women who are in the child protection program for human trafficking do not automatically enter the adult terrain on the day they turn 18.
“These girls are not predators or a adults who have made conscious decisions,” says Judge Dumas a speaker at the event. “Many times they have been abused from a young age- as low as 11 or 12 and are still suffering from that.”
While the number of calls is low, the number of incidents reported to and remedied by the police is the second highest of the six years recorded according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. The umbrella of human trafficking includes both sex trafficking and labor trafficking with 84 out of the 116 cases being sex trafficking versus the 20 who related to the labor force.
A document introduced to the PA House of Representatives states that the bill would provide a safe harbor scenario to women and girls affected.
“We know that these children are victims and we want them treated as such,” said Judge Dumas.