AP NEWS

Hotline is wrong on Baltimore’s human trafficking help signs

October 24, 2019

BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore hotels and other businesses display signs featuring a hotline for human trafficking victims, but a misprinted number means those calls for help are being met with an error message.

The Baltimore Sun reports officials are scrambling to fix it, but the problem is that the error appears to be enshrined in the city’s legislation. Passed in January, it requires signs that tell victims to “Text ‘BEFREE’ (233722).” But the letters actually correspond to the numbers 233733.

Bill sponsor City Councilman Kristerfer Burnett says staffers noticed the error while drafting legislation to expand the law.

Maryland Hotel Lodging Association lawyer Frank Boston III says hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent complying, and hotels don’t want to spend that much again or have cries for help go unanswered.

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Information from: The Baltimore Sun, http://www.baltimoresun.com