MVLS Receives Funding for HTPP Outreach
from Baltimore City
In March, the Human Trafficking Prevention Project (HTTP) at MVLS was awarded a grant by the Baltimore City Human Trafficking Collaborative (the "Collaborative") and the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ) to develop targeted outreach materials that will be used to educate service providers, survivors, and volunteer attorneys about the need for and availability of legal services for trafficking survivors.

These outreach materials will reflect a diversity of trafficking survivors' experiences and be part of a larger public awareness raising campaign that will be tailored to specific populations in Baltimore (and throughout Maryland) that are most vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation. New materials will include posters, palm cards, and informational pamphlets, as well as a separate landing page for the HTPP project on the MVLS website. Thank you again to the Collaborative and MOCJ for supporting the HTPP's outreach efforts and stay tuned for further updates!
Upcoming HTPP Events
Thursday, June 20th @ 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
This webinar will help legal advocates working with survivors of human trafficking to seek more effective tax assistance on the survivors’ behalf. The speakers will provide a brief overview of the crime of human trafficking, describe the most common tax issues that impact human trafficking victims and how to identify them, give a brief overview of the tax controversy process for non-tax practitioners, and discuss ways to relieve the burden of tax liabilities within the context of holistic human trafficking advocacy.
2019 Maryland General Assembly Report
Human Trafficking Legislation
This year the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force , of which the HTPP is a member, supported four pieces of legislation aimed at greatly increasing protections and services for survivors of human trafficking in Maryland. During the 2019 General Assembly session, three of the four bills passed , representing a significant victory for survivors and advocates. These include:
 

  • HB 827/ SB 688 (Child Sex Trafficking Screening & Services Act of 2019) - sponsored by Delegate Brooke Lierman (Baltimore City) and Senator Susan Lee (Montgomery County). The legislation, as passed, mandates funding for services for minor victims of trafficking and creates new regional coordinators to organize response and resources for cases involving minor victims. Unfortunately, the final version of the bill did not include a provision providing immunity from prosecution for minor victims, which was strongly advocated for by the Task Force.


  • SB 690/ HB 871 - sponsored by Senator Susan Lee and Delegate Jesse Pippy (Frederick & Carroll Counties). This legislation re-codifies Maryland’s current human trafficking law by relocating the statute from the Prostitution subtitle to the Crimes Against Persons title, an important change which more accurately represents the nature of the crime. The legislation also clarifies several provisions within the law, and establishes the separate crime of forced marriage, which was originally part of the human trafficking law. Finally, the bill also creates separate criminal offenses for buying and selling sex to more accurately track who is being charged each type of offense. 

 
  • HB 734/ SB 689 (Anti-Exploitation Act of 2019) - sponsored by Delegate Wanika Fisher (Prince George’s County) and Senator Susan Lee. This legislation establishes the crime of labor trafficking within the state. Prior to the passage of this legislation, Maryland was one of only three states that did not have a specific law against labor trafficking. 

Unfortunately, a fourth bill supported by the Task Force, which is critical to assisting the survivors served through the HTPP, did not pass this year. HB 782/ SB 691 (True Freedom Act of 2019) , sponsored by Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary (Howard County) and Senator Susan Lee, would have made critical improvements to Maryland’s vacatur law , which allows survivors of trafficking who have prostitution convictions stemming from their trafficking experience to petition the court to vacate, or, set aside those convictions. 

Maryland’s current vacatur law received an “F” grade in a recent nationwide review of criminal record relief laws co-authored by HTPP Director Jessica Emerson. The True Freedom Act would have increased the number of criminal offenses eligible for vacatur, and eliminated the need for a survivor to obtain the consent of the State's Attorney’s Office that originally prosecuted them before filing a vacatur petition with the court. Despite support from the Maryland State’s Attorney’s Association, survivor leaders, and numerous state and national victim’s services agencies, the bill stalled in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. We look forward to a reintroduction of this legislation during the 2020 session!
Would you like to help prevent human trafficking in Maryland?

We are seeking attorneys from varied backgrounds to help represent survivors and advocate for individuals at risk of future exploitation.

Please email HTPP Coordinator Heather Heiman for more information and to sign up for the panel.
Thank you for your support in making sure access to justice is available for all. 
Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service | 201 N. Charles Street, Suite 1400 Baltimore, MD 21201    
410 539-6800 | 443 451-4081 | info@mvlslaw.org | www.mvlslaw.org