The Maryland Catholic Conference offers this testimony in SUPPORT of House Bill 292 (HB 292). The Catholic Conference represents the public-policy interests of the three (arch)dioceses serving Maryland, the Archdioceses of Baltimore and Washington and the Diocese of Wilmington, which together encompass over one million Marylanders.
HB 292 requires entrance-level and in-service police training conducted by State, county, and municipal police to include specific training on human trafficking and the appropriate treatment human trafficking victims.
The Maryland Catholic Conference supports HB 292 because it educates end empowers law enforcement to recognize and help human trafficking victims. The Church’s social teaching forbids activities that lead to human beings being bought and sold like merchandise. Human trafficking – including both sex trafficking and labor trafficking – violates the dignity of all parties involved, but especially its victims. The Maryland Catholic Conference advocates for policies that weaken the trafficking economy, support its victims, and increase awareness.
The Maryland Catholic Conference advises that law enforcement training be tailored to include information on both sex trafficking and labor trafficking situations. Labor trafficking is a “form of modern-day slavery in which individuals perform labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion.” While sex trafficking is well known as an emerging issue in the United States, labor trafficking is often less understood and not recognized as frequently. Since labor trafficking essentially results in human beings being bought and sold like merchandise, the Church encourages policies that aide in its victims’ recognition and assistance.
It is for these reasons that the Maryland Catholic Conference urges a favorable report for HB 292. Thank you for your consideration.