Michigan legally allows police to have sex with prostitutes if the intercourse takes place during an investigation.
ose lawful sexual relations could also include sex trafficking victims who have been forced into prostitution.
Bridgette Carr, a professor and director of the Human Trafficking Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School, told Michigan Radio that she became aware of the law a few years ago when Hawaii was "phasing out their exemption" for cops who had sex with prostitutes in the line of duty.
"And a number of folks in the human trafficking community were upset that Michigan retained the exemption," Carr added.
Carr doesn't believe the law was created with bad intent:
The reason the law is structured the way it is is because of the way the prostitution laws are written. So for law enforcement to have any power to investigate with immunity, they got all the power. And no one thought to go back and carve out a prohibition against sexual intercourse.
Carr said some cops don't know about the law, but some do:
No police officer or prosecutor that I spoke with said, "That’s a tool that we use in our training or that’s what we expect our law enforcement to be doing." What I do know from my own clients is that people who either say they are cops, who are cops or who are impersonating cops, know about this exemption and threaten my clients with it sometimes.
It’s not rampant, but it happens. And I think it says something about us as a community that we would allow this type of exemption for law enforcement, whether it’s used very often or not.
In terms of human trafficking cases reported by state, Michigan ranks seventh in the nation, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
In January, authorities arrested 16 people during a sex trafficking sting that was set up during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, WWJ reports.
FBI Detroit spokesman Tim Wiley told the news station: "There was a large influx of people coming into our area and so with that, we do see a trend of increased human trafficking that takes place."
According to federal agents, several of the females being trafficked were minors.
Wiley said opioid drug abuse is a large factor in human trafficking:
Some of those pimps in the past may have had to use a lot of force or coercion to get someone to get involved in this human trafficking. Now -- not so much -- it might just be a drug addition. It might be something that was involved more in an online situation as well with all of the sexstortion and different types of opportunities people take.