HARRISBURG, Jan. 29 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., on Wednesday in the state Capitol discussed her support of H.R. 634, which designates January 2016 as “National Human Trafficking Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania.
The resolution is traditionally called for a vote on the last day of session before the Super Bowl, because it is documented that trafficking increases around large events held in urban areas such as the NFL championship game. Law enforcement is also expected to be vigilant at the upcoming Democratic and Republican national conventions for the same reasons.
This year, the resolution event took on more significant meaning, as all of women House members signed onto the resolution and were present in the front of the House as remarks were made.
DeLissio was a prime sponsor of the resolution, and her efforts to support awareness of this local and national issue originate in a personal experience. As she explained in her remarks Wednesday, some years back, at a conference in a downtown hotel, she became aware of a young woman accompanied by an older male exhibiting concerning behavior, as he seemed to pay a little too much attention to her visit to the ladies’ restroom.
The Polaris Project is an organization with the mission and goal to ensure that the best public policy is in place to combat both sex and labor trafficking. Some behaviors that could indicate trafficking include: someone who is not in control of their own identification documents, has few or no personal possessions, or has numerous inconsistencies in their story.
“In the past few years, Pennsylvania has passed significant laws to combat trafficking and there is more work to be done,” DeLissio said. “We need to ensure that we adequately fund services to assist victims and to help them become successful survivors.”