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State Government

Local state legislators appointed to human trafficking task force

Three McHenry County-area state legislators were appointed to a newly created human trafficking task force.

Sen. Pamela Althoff, R-McHenry; Sen. Karen McConnaughay, R-West Dundee; and Rep. Barbara Wheeler, R-Crystal Lake; will serve alongside 10 other Illinois legislators, a representative from the Chicago Regional Human Trafficking Task Force and the director of the Illinois State Police, according to a news release.

Members of the task force will look into how Illinois can work with agencies to combat human trafficking in Illinois. A report on their findings and recommendations will be submitted to Gov. Bruce Rauner and the General Assembly by June 30, 2017, according to a news release.

The Human Trafficking Task Force was created under House Bill 2282, which was signed into law in August.

Althoff said she hopes to collectively come up with a uniform, consistent program and process in how the state deals with young women who have been a victim of human trafficking and are now removed from the situation.

“We want better collaboration coordination between the local entities and the state of Illinois,” Althoff said.

The National Human Trafficking Resource Center recorded 94 cases in Illinois this year as of the end of June, Wheeler said. That number has significantly increased compared to last year, she said.

Wheeler said that in McHenry County specifically, her priorities lie among massage parlors and nail salons among domestic workers. She said it’s important to make sure the best management practices are in place and that all rules are being followed.

“Sadly, Chicago has emerged as a national hub for human trafficking, and incidents of these crimes have also been reported in the suburbs and in downstate Illinois,” Wheeler said in a statement.

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