County Council Discusses Human Trafficking Bills

One deals with rental units used for human trafficking.



Frederick, Md (KM) Landlords, property managers and their staffs  could be subject to criminal charges if they know of human trafficking activity on their properties, and take no action. That’s contained in legislation discussed Tuesday by the Frederick County Council.

Councilman Kirby Delauter said if this passes, it could be an undue burden on property owners: “I think we’re creating another criminal entity from the owner that really doesn’t need to be involved,” he said. “As the owner of an apartment, I’m not  going to go in and check out or stake out what’s going on inside those four walls. That’s none of my business.”

Councilwoman Jessica Fitzwater is sponsoring the bill. She said landlords who take action after being told by police about illegal activities on their properties would not face criminal charges: “But if you don’t and you know this is happening but you are still getting your rent check so you’re like  well I’m going to kind of turn a blind eye then you could be part of the problem. But currently there is not a clear path to charging you and whereas this allows to be an additional penalty on the land lord if they are involved,” she said.

The Council discussed two other human trafficking bills on Tuesday: one would require “bodyworks” establishments to be regulated; and the other would require hotel employees be trained to recognize the signs of human trafficking.


By Kevin McManus