Governor signs legislation to help human trafficking victims

In this March 13, 2017 Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder speaks during a news conference in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation that allows more victims of human trafficking to have their criminal records dismissed.

Snyder signed a bill Tuesday that removes the restriction that a victim is only eligible for deferral or dismissal of criminal charges if they had no prior convictions. The bill was sponsored by Republican state Rep. Bronna Kahle of Adrian and she says it will help lead victims to rebuild better lives.

Snyder says Michigan needs to do everything it can to assist victims of human trafficking.

Victims previously weren’t eligible for dismissal or deferral of charges if they had previous prostitution-related charges on their record.

In 2015, Snyder signed into law that made human trafficking punishable by life imprisonment.

==Above, Women at Risk, International President Becky McDonald discusses the legislation.==

Tuesday, state Attorney General Bill Schuette released the following statement:

“Victims of human trafficking are just that, victims. The crimes they committed while they were under the control of a trafficker were overwhelmingly done out of fear, force and coercion. I will continue to support legislation that gives human trafficking victims a chance at regaining a normal life which was so cruelly robbed from them.”

–24 Hour News 8 web staff contributed to this story.