Senator Collins

Legislation is part of Collins’ push against trafficking


SPRINGFIELD – Information about human trafficking would also be displayed in public restrooms of establishments like truck stops, hotels and restaurants as part of the latest legislation fighting human trafficking sponsored by State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago).

“This may seem like a minor action, but we must remember two very important things: Human trafficking is here in Illinois, and it thrives on invisibility,” said Collins. “Today, we have taken a small step toward raising awareness about this crime against humanity.”

Collins is the Senate sponsor of House Bill 588, which would require high-traffic businesses to display signs in their restrooms created by the Illinois Department of Human Services that list the phone number for the 24/7 National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline.

Studies have shown Illinois’ position as a major interstate and international travel hub makes it likely that thousands of victims of human trafficking could be present in the state on a given day, and that these victims are largely women and people of color. A 2014 study by the Urban Institute found as many as 40% of all human trafficking victims are Black.

The legislation is part of larger push by Collins to fight human trafficking, including two other measures that passed the Senate earlier this session. Senate Bill 1599 would create a Human Trafficking Task Force to study human trafficking in Illinois and make recommendations to the General Assembly on how to fight it. Senate Bill 1600 requires truck stops and restaurants to train employees to recognize the signs of human trafficking and how to report it — training that is already required for businesses like hotels.

“In every way that matters, human trafficking is modern-day slavery,” Collins said. “The fight against it starts with recognizing it, and we must act with urgency.”

House Bill 588 passed the Senate Thursday and awaits the governor’s signature to become law. Senate Bills 1599 and 1600 await consideration in the Illinois House.