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Illinois Legislature FINALLY Working To Outlaw Slavery

By Sam Bakken in News on May 26, 2005 8:26PM

Twenny Fi CentYou'd think that after almost 145 years, especially with our Land of Lincoln motto, we'd've gotten our act together with the whole slavery deal. Apparently we haven't yet.

A New York Times Magazine article from January 2004 listed Chicago (along with New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta) as a major human trafficking hub. The article explains that individuals usually transport girls from around the world through the porous border between the U.S. and Mexico and place them in underground brothels where they're held against their will and forced to do dirty deeds.

In March 2005, Gov. BJ announced a coalition of different government agencies that would work together to fight against involuntary servitude (sexual and otherwise). During the press conference, BJ also called on legislators to pass a tough anti-human-trafficking bill implementing stiff penalties for offenders.

Today the Illinois Senate passed that bill. While similar federal legislation already exists, the state bill will allow victims to seek financial and other sorts of restitution in state courts and prosecutors here to break up these sorts of trafficking rings. The Illinois House passed the bill last month, but the Senate amended it so it has been sent back.