The WellHouse, an Alabama-based human trafficking support organization, recently came out against the state’s proposed casino gaming legislation for the perceived harmful effects related to human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

The WellHouse, which has operated in support of human trafficking victims for over 12 years, opposed the legislation on Tuesday, citing personal experience and data as the reason for opposing casinos in Alabama.

“The WellHouse is a safe haven for female victims of human sex trafficking,” said WellHouse CEO Carolyn Potter. “We provide opportunities for restoration to female victims of human trafficking who have been sexually exploited through our emergency, short-term, and long-term care programs. Our mission is simple: Restore.”

“The WellHouse has been fighting the vile, egregious crime of human sex trafficking since 2011," she added. "Not only do we have first-hand accounts, we are also aware of the data that leaves no doubt of the strong correlation between human trafficking and casinos and gambling.  Even though it may not be welcomed by owners and operators, it is a reality. Adding additional casinos in our state will invite not only these activities but also other issues that so powerfully affect victims. These include a high rate of drug and alcohol abuse, increased pressure on an already resourced deficient law enforcement system, and life altering trauma for the victims! For these reasons, we feel compelled to speak against the current proposed gambling bill.”

The proposed gambling legislation is on rocky grounds at the State House. After significant disagreements between House and Senate members, a conference committee made up of members from both chambers will meet on Wednesday to attempt a compromise.

After weeks of deliberation, the Senate passed both bills on March 8, this time with amendments, significantly changing the original legislation.

The substitute amendments under the Senate plan include a statewide lottery and a requirement that the governor negotiate a gambling compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PCI). Sports betting, online gambling or other non-PCI new casinos aren't included in the Senate's amendment like the House's version. The constitutional amendment would be voted on in the Senate plan on September 10 in a special election.

The Senate's revised constitutional amendment also authorizes pari-mutuel wagering, including historical horse racing at the racetracks in Greene, Jefferson, Macon and Mobile Counties and an additional location in Greene County, at the existing bingo halls in Houston County, and in the town of White Hall in Lowndes County.

RELATED: State Sen. Orr gives low odds for conference committee gambling bill efforts — 'I'd say between 20-30%'

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