HB 234 — Criminal Law – Crime of Violence – Human Trafficking - Maryland Catholic Conference

HB 234 — Criminal Law – Crime of Violence – Human Trafficking

Committee: House Judiciary

Position: Support

The Maryland Catholic Conference (“Conference”) represents the public policy interests of the three Roman Catholic (arch)dioceses serving Maryland: the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Diocese of Wilmington.

House Bill 234 adds human trafficking as a statutory crime of violence.

The Conference supports efforts to dismantle human trafficking by strengthening laws protecting victims against traffickers, providing services and rehabilitation to victims, and increasing awareness of the issue. Human trafficking – both sex trafficking and labor trafficking – strips the dignity from a person and is considered modern-day slavery.

House Bill 234 takes the important legal step towards the legitimacy of human trafficking as a very serious crime, while also underscoring its often violent nature as a crime against another person. Human trafficking cannot be solved by one effort alone; it needs to be approached holistically and tackled from different angles, including providing funding for rehabilitation services for victims and strengthening the law against traffickers. House Bill 234 moves the State forward in expanding the options to punish those who engage in trafficking efforts.

The Conference appreciates your consideration and, for these reasons, respectfully requests a favorable report on House Bill 234.