What has happened with the Democratic leadership in the Maine House and Senate? Are they so small and petty they would allow women who already have been victimized through human trafficking be further victimized by our legal system?

Who are these women? Where do they come from and how do they get into the sex trade? They are mothers, daughters and sisters. They come from developed as well as Third World countries. Women are lured in with the promise of an education and employment in a better part of the world. Sometimes they are addicts forced into prostitution to support their habit. Still other women are kidnapped as teenagers right off Main Street, America, never to be heard from again.

Rep. Amy Volk, R-Scarborough, sponsored a bill that would allow Maine courts to vacate prostitution verdicts if the women could prove they were victims of human trafficking. The Democratic Party leadership rejected this bill for consideration for what appears to be purely political reasons; to deny a Republican credit going into next year’s election. Former Rep. Jon Hinck, a Democrat Portland, said he thought their action was politically motivated.

Maine Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant said, “I just don’t know if it’s an issue at all here in Maine.” He has now backpedaled and apologized, after learning that calls to the national human trafficking hot line from Maine have doubled in recent years. Human trafficking is not a Third World problem. This is a Maine problem; it’s an Augusta problem.

Not only are these women victimized, but so are their families through the disappearance of their loved ones. I encourage all Mainers to contact their legislators as well as the Democratic leadership and urge them to get on board and allow this law to be considered this session so as not to further victimize these women.

Dave RickerWiscasset

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