The Michigan law banning human trafficking took effect on August 24, 2006. The law was strengthened in 2010 with changes taking effect on April 1, 2011. These changes included enhanced restitution for human trafficking victims. Not only can victims ask for all costs suffered as a consequence of their bondage, such as medical costs, they can also ask for a restitution order that finally recognizes the value of the years of their life lost due to the crime. 

The human trafficking chapter was further overhauled in 2014 as a result of a 21-bill legislative package. The 2014 legislative package included safe harbor provisions, stronger tools to hold traffickers accountable, and created a standing Human Trafficking Commission within the Department of Attorney General and a Human Trafficking Health Advisory Board within the Department of Community Health. Most of the new legislation took effect on January 14, 2015.

The human trafficking chapter of Michigan law can be found at MCL 750.462(a)-(i).

Michigan law prohibits:

  • Forced Labor or Services MCL 750.462b
    • "Labor" means work of economic or financial value.
    • "Services" means an ongoing relationship between a person and an individual in which the individual performs activities under the supervision of or for the benefit of the person, including, but not limited to commercial sexual activity and sexually explicit performances.
  • Debt Bondage MCL750.462c
  • Enterprise Liability; Financially Benefitting MCL 750.462d
  • Trafficking a Minor MCL 750.462e
    • Covers both sex trafficking and labor trafficking of a minor
    • NO Force Fraud or Coercion Required
    • "regardless of whether the person knows the age of the minor"

"Forced labor or services" means labor or services that are obtained or maintained by force, fraud, or coercion. MCL 750.462a(g)

"Force" includes, but is not limited to, physical violence or threat of physical violence or actual physical restraint or confinement or threat of actual physical restraint of confinement, without regard to whether injury occurs.  MCL 762.462a(f)

"Fraud" includes, but is not limited to, a false or deceptive offer of employment or marriage.  MCL 762a(h)

"Coercion" includes, but is not limited to, any of the following:

  1. threatening to harm or physically restrain any individual or the creation of any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause an individual to believe that failure to perform an act would result in psychological, reputational, or financial harm to, or physical restraint of any individual. 
  2. abusing or threatening abuse of the legal system, including threats of arrest or deportation without regard to whether the individual being threatened is subject to arrest or deportation under the laws of this state or the United States.
  3. knowingly destroying, concealing, removing, confiscating, or possessing any actual or purported passport or other immigration document or any other actual or purported government identification document from any individual without regard to whether the documents are fraudulent or fraudulently obtained.

Victim Experiences

A victim may experience the legal concepts noted above in the following ways:

Force: Kidnapping, torture, battering, threats with weapons, sexual abuse, confinement, forced use of drugs, forced 
abortions, denial of medical care.

Fraud: Promises of valid immigration documents, victim told to use false travel papers, contract signed for legitimate   
work, promised job differs from actuality, promises of money or salary, misrepresentation of work conditions,
wooing into romantic relationship.

Coercion: Debt bondage, threats of harm to victim or family, control of children, controlled communication,
photographing in illegal situation, holding ID/travel documents, verbal or psychological abuse, control of 
victims money, punishments for misbehavior.