When the Indiana General Assembly returns to session next month, Indiana Senator Mike Crider, R-Greenfield, will look to continue fighting back against human trafficking in the Hoosier State. Crider told Giant FM that he plans to continue his past efforts to address crimes of a sexual nature this session, including human trafficking.
"I had had good success in the past, and because of my work to try to get extra funds for the internet crimes against children investigators, this topic has been a common theme," Crider said.
According to Crider, human trafficking is a crime that occurs anywhere, but is prevalent in areas where major events take place.
"Unfortunately, major sporting events attract this activity and Indianapolis is one of the areas that comes up. The traffickers normally set up operations in hotels close to where a lot of people gather so a lot of the education focuses on employees of hotels. The trafficking industry has also made this an area of focus. People who see suspicious activity should report that to their local law enforcement agency," Crider said.
The veteran lawmaker told Giant FM he has not heard of any specific cases in Shelby or Hancock counties, but did share a story he learned of from a friend with the Indiana State Police.
"A trooper friend told me about an incident where they stopped a car on I-70 that they thought was involved with drug trafficking and when they separated the occupants of the car and started questioning them, they found out the two, young Hispanic girls were being used in trafficking," Crider said.
His proposed legislation would address the issue that the penalty for trafficking a person is a level 5 felony.
According to Crider, during court proceedings the criminal penalties are often pled down to a lower crime.
"In this case, it would make it a level 6 felony, which is typically a monetary penalty. We get so few chances at these criminals that I believe when we do catch them, the penalty should involve time in incarceration, especially when the person being trafficked is less than 18 years of age. The bill would enhance the penalty to a level 4 felony in that case and even if it is pled down, a level 5 still involves jail time. That seems appropriate, and I am very hopeful my colleagues will agree," Crider said.