MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Not many people know that we have a sex trafficking super highway running right through the heart of Alabama.
I-20 from Birmingham to Atlanta is the top sex trafficking highway in the United States. Women and girls, some under 18, are being coerced or forced into the sex trade with few good options to escape.
There's a bill in motion, that just passed overwhelmingly in the Alabama House, that is now in the Senate titled the Human Trafficking Safe Harbor Act.
Representative Jack Williams of Vestavia Hills is the sponsor, and his goal is to "pass a law that plants a flag that says Alabama will be the most difficult state to purchase sex or pimp out others for sex." This bill, which I strongly support, will introduce a new layer of protections for the child-victims while escalating the punishment of those soliciting sex.
There are non-profit organizations in Alabama including the Well House, that offer shelter and long term housing to women and girls who have been sexually exploited through human trafficking. The Well House is the only 24-hour shelter in the Southeast offering immediate assistance without certain entry requirements that other states have as prerequisites to receive help.
We applaud both Representative Williams and the fine folks at the Well House for doing what they can to reduce the sex trade in our state, while helping women and young girls escape and recover from this dark and dangerous trade.