Human Trafficking

Human trafficking

Human trafficking has long been an issue in Montgomery County, in Maryland, nationally and internationally.  Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery where people profit from the control and exploitation of others (Polaris Project).  There are generally two forms of trafficking: sex and labor. Victims of human trafficking include men, women, boys and girls.

The Polaris Project, a national non-profit that assists human trafficking victims, does an excellent job of collecting statistics by state. Maryland data may be found here.

Montgomery County Human Trafficking Prevention Committee

In 2014, County Executive Ike Leggett created the Montgomery County Human Trafficking Task Force. The purpose of the task force is to increase understanding of the issue in Montgomery County and to develop interagency coordination of strategies for response and prevention.

In October 2017, the task force transitioned into the Montgomery County Human Trafficking Prevention Committee (Committee) via 27-17 Human Rights and Civil Liberties—Human Trafficking Prevention Committee Established.

The full Committee meets six times a year from noon-1:30pm in the Rockville Library.  Meetings are currently being held virtually

2021 Meeting dates are:
Wednesday, May 19, 2021 noon-1:30 PM
Wednesday, July 21, 2021 noon-1:30 PM
Wednesday, September 15, 2021 noon-1:30 PM
Wednesday, November 17, 2021 noon-1:30 PM

cfwinfo@montgomerycountymd.gov or call 240-777-8300 for meeting information. Please note that meeting dates and times are subject to change-- please call or e-mail ahead to confirm.

 

The Committee’s overarching goals include:
  • Increasing the identification and prosecution of all parties supporting the organized crime of  human trafficking to include traffickers, suppliers, transporters, advertisers and demand elements;
  • Elimination of human trafficking, and
  • Improving identification of and services for human trafficking victims
Watch the Task Force's kick-off event

 

Legislative Sub-Committee

The legislative committee is responsible for researching best practices within the criminal justice system to combat human trafficking. The committee meets six times a year.

County Bill 9-15, Health and Sanitation—Bodywork Establishment—License. The bill was signed into law April 22, 2015. The legislative sub-committee worked with the entire task force to introduce and implement County Bill 9-15. The law is the first of its kind in Maryland, and requires a license to operate a bodywork establishment in the county.  Bodyworks establishments are businesses that advertise bodywork services, such as reflexology, acupressure and other practices that fall outside the Maryland State definition of massage, or where any employee, agent or contractor performs bodywork on an individual. The law ensures that legal establishments can operate while providing enforcement against illegal establishments.  Licenses are issued through the County’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). 
Enforcement is done by DHHS and the Montgomery County Police Department.

County bill 39-15 was also established to deter human trafficking in the county.  Bill 39-15 makes purchasing prostitution a violation of county law. Although selling or buying prostitution violates the current State Criminal Law prohibiting solicitation of prostitution, Bill 39-15 adds an alternative law enforcement mechanism for the police to combat human trafficking in the County. A person is often forced to work as a prostitute by human traffickers at a young age. The bill authorizes a police officer to issue either a civil or criminal citation to the customer for purchasing prostitution in the county. A civil citation would be prosecuted by the County Attorney's Office and could result in a maximum fine of $500 for a first violation and $750 for subsequent violations. A criminal citation would be prosecuted by the State's Attorney and could result in both a fine up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. The bill would be enforceable only against the customer. The bill was signed into law on November 25, 2015.

Subcommittee chair: VACANT



Bill 9-15

 

Education and Outreach Sub-Committee

The education and outreach committee is responsible for educating the community about human trafficking. The chair is Wendy Stickle, Director of the University of Maryland Criminology and Criminal Justice Program at the Universities at Shady Grove.  Dr. Stickle’s e-mail is:    wstickle@umd.edu

Watch Dr. Stickle discuss human trafficking, and its prevention in Montgomery County on Connecting Our Community, Montgomery County Media.

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The education and outreach committee is responsible for educating the community about human trafficking. The chair is Wendy Stickle, Director of the University of Maryland Criminology and Criminal Justice Program at the Universities at Shady Grove. Dr. Stickle’s e-mail is:   wstickle@umd.edu


Victim Services Sub-Committee

This committee coordinates services for victims in the county.  The victim services committee is co-chaired chaired by:

Jessica Volz DNP, CRNP, FNE A/P, FNP-BC, SANE-A, SANE-P, NE-BC, Clinical Director of Forensics, Forensic Medical Unit. Ms. Volz’s e-mail is:    JVolz@adventisthealthcare.com
Marirose Ungerman, Marirose Ungerman MS, LCPC, ACS, Therapist and Founder, RESILIENCY GROUP LLC. Her email is: marirose@mariroseu.com

The subcommittees currently meet virtually on the dates and times listed below.  Meeting dates and times are subject to change. Please email cfwinfo@montgomerycountymd.gov or call (240) 777-8300 to confirm.

Legislative Committee
Third Wednesday, every other month
Wednesday, April 21, 2021 1:00-2:30 PM
Wednesday, June 16, 2021 1:00-2:30 PM
Wednesday, August 18, 2021 1:00-2:30 PM
Wednesday, October 20, 2021 1:00-2:30 PM
Wednesday, December 15, 2021 1:00-2:30 PM

Education and Outreach Committee:
Third Wednesday, every other month
Wednesday, April 21, 2021 3:00-4:30 PM
Wednesday, June 16, 2021 3:00-4:30 PM
Wednesday, August 18, 2021 3:00-4:30 PM
Wednesday, October 20, 2021 3:00-4:30 PM
Wednesday, December 15, 2021 3:00-4:30 PM

Victim Services:
Third Wednesday, every other month
Wednesday, April 21, 2021 10:00-11:30 AM
Wednesday, June 16, 2021 10:00-11:30 AM
Wednesday, August 18, 2021 10:00-11:30 AM
Wednesday, October 20, 2021 10:00-11:30AM
Wednesday, December 15, 2021 10:00-11:30AM