LANSING (AP) – The Michigan House has voted to give legal protection to teen prostitutes in an attempt to address human trafficking.

A bill approved unanimously Wednesday would require that when people under age 18 are charged with prostitution, it’s presumed that they were coerced into it. They would be subject to temporary protective custody, and police would have to immediately report a suspected human trafficking violation to state social workers.

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The legislation is based on a recent recommendation from the state’s first human trafficking commission to create a “safe harbor” provision for minors. Bill sponsor Rep. Eileen Kowall, a White Lake Republican, says the state should help victims rebuild their lives instead of arresting them.

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The bill and a related one now go to the Senate for consideration.

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