Though it’s nearly unimaginable to think so in this day and age, it isn’t currently against the law for Michigan police officers to actually have sex with prostitutes while they are investigating prostitution, but newly introduced legislation will seek to dismantle that exemption, the UK’s Independent reports.
In fact, the paper notes, Michigan appears to be the only state that allows such exemptions in human trafficking.
Bridgette Carr, a director of the Human Trafficking Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School, is currently working with legislators to get the law changed. She said the exemption came about from the way the law against prostitution is written.
“So for law enforcement to have any power to investigate with immunity, they got all the power. And no one thought to go back and carve out a prohibition against sexual intercourse,” she told Michigan Public Radio. (RELATED: Exposed: TSA manager arrested for running prostitution ring)
Carr said she became aware of Michigan’s exemption after learning a couple of years ago that Hawaii was in the process of getting rid of theirs. That left the Wolverine State the only one in the union to allow cops to actually get it on with their prostitute suspects.
That’s certainly one way to prove a case, but isn’t that a form of entrapment as well?
The good news is that Carr said she doesn’t know of any officers who have actually taken advantage of the exemption – those cops who know it exists, anyway.
So, if it’s not being taken advantage of, what’s the point of changing the law in the first place?
“What I do know from my own clients is that people who either say they are cops, who are cops or who are impersonating cops, know about this exemption and threaten my clients with it sometimes,” she said. “It’s not rampant, but it happens. And I think it says something about us as a community that we would allow this type of exemption for law enforcement, whether it’s used very often or not.”
Human trafficking – mostly for prostitution – is a global problem. The Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign, which focuses on human trafficking, has even published a list of signs to look for, to help identify victims of human trafficking. They include:
— Children who have stopped going to school
— Persons who appear very disconnected from family, social organizations and houses of worship
— Sudden, dramatic changes in personality
— Persons who are suddenly fearful, submissive and timid
— Presence of physical abuse like bruises and cuts to the face
— People who appear to be coached on what they should say when asked certain questions
“Trafficking in persons is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights. Every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad. Almost every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims,” says the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Prostitution is legal in some parts of the United States, which is probably why human trafficking is pretty rare. That said, it does occur. In fact, a Houston man was recently charged with the crime, in association with the operation of a prostitution ring in the city. (RELATED: Democratic congresswoman claims global warming will force American women into prostitution)
Anthony Gardner is believed to be the first person charged by the the Harris County District Attorney’s office with the crime of “continuing trafficking of persons.” He also faces one charge of aggravated promotion of prostitution and two counts of compelling prostitution by force. The 27-year-old forced eight women, including two minors to work for him on Houston streets from November 2014 until his recent arrest.
It isn’t clear whether the Michigan law will actually be changed, but until it is, cops there who do utilize the exemption of actually having sex with a prostitute in connection with a sex crimes investigation won’t themselves be guilty of engaging in illicit human trafficking.
J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.