Nessel urges awareness of human trafficking signs, shares resources

Attorney General Dana Nessel is raising awareness of the signs of human trafficking and reminding residents of  available resources.

Human trafficking can take on many forms, including forced labor and sexual exploitation. Labor trafficking is found in many different markets  such as convenience stores, nail salons, massage parlors, farming, agriculture, and restaurants. Those being trafficked often do not even realize they are victims of human trafficking.

Victims may exhibit signs of abuse, including bruises, cuts, burns, or scars; not be in control of money or documents, including driver's license or passport; avoid eye contact, and appear fearful of the person they’re with; not be allowed to communicate on their own behalf, another person may answer all questions on their behalf; not be from the area or aware of where they are; not admit they are victims or ask for help.

The attorney general is prosecuting criminal cases under state law banning human trafficking in Michigan, working with law enforcement task forces through the Human Trafficking Unit to help put an end to trafficking. Attorneys from the Department also conduct trainings for law enforcement and prosecutors and work with community members and advocates.

The Michigan Human Trafficking Commission was formed in 2015. The Commission is comprised of 9 members appointed by the Governor and includes designees from the Department of Attorney General, Michigan State Police, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Assistant Attorney General Melissa Palepu is the Commission’s current chair.   

The mission of the Commission  includes:  

• Identifying sources for grants that will assist in examining and countering human trafficking in this state and applying for those grants when appropriate.  

• Funding research programs to determine the extent and nature of human trafficking in Michigan.  

• Providing information and training to police officers, prosecutor, court personnel, health care providers; social services personnel, other individuals the commission considers appropriate.

• Collecting and analyzing information regarding human trafficking in Michigan

• Identifying state and local agencies within Michigan and other states, as well as within the federal government.

• Reviewing existing services available to assist human trafficking victims, including crime victim assistance, health care, and legal assistance, and establishing a program to make those victims better aware of the services available to them.

• Establishing a program to improve public awareness  Reviewing state laws and administrative rules and making recommendations to the legislature..

Meetings are at the Williams Building, 525 W. Ottawa St., Lansing and accessible remotely.

Contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 888-373-7888 or text 233733 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.

All calls are confidential. Additional information ois available at

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