The Colorado House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill that would increase human trafficking training for law enforcement and other organizations that provide services to human trafficking victims.
“It is our hope and our intent that this leads to more reporting of human trafficking activity followed by investigations by our law enforcement to gather the evidence (and) arrest those that are carrying on sex slavery in our state,” said Rep. Terri Carver (R- El Paso), a bill co-sponsor.
The bill passed 54-7 with four legislators excused from the vote.
A Rocky Mountain PBS investigation last year found the state had not implemented mandatory training for Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification despite a Colorado Human Trafficking Council recommendation that Colorado officers receive additional training.
“The Colorado Human Trafficking Council recommended additional resources for law enforcement, especially in rural districts, so they can be better trained how to do these investigations and bring these people to justice,” Carver said.
The bill requires the division of criminal justice to provide new training – including online and train-the-trainer programs - to police, school personnel, and other service agencies, giving priority to those with limited access to training resources.
It also makes a legislative declaration that human trafficking is a “matter of statewide concern” and that, in addition to law enforcement, “it is essential to increase awareness of school staff, parents and guardians, and students of the dangers of human trafficking.”
“This bill puts into statue that human trafficking is a school safety issue in Colorado schools and that schools are a target for human trafficking and recruitment,” said Rep. Joann Ginal (D-Larmer), a bill co-sponsor, during a Monday hearing.