Houses Passes Anti-Human Trafficking Bill

May 18, 2017

Speaking with Rep. Russ Morin on the House floor after voting in favor of the bill

Recently the House unanimously passed a bill I co-introduced to combat human trafficking in Connecticut.

HB 7309, An Act Concerning Human Trafficking, aims to prevent sex trafficking by adding members to the state’s Trafficking in Persons Council, increasing penalties for sex trafficking, and providing greater education to state agencies.

We don’t want to admit that human trafficking is happening here, but it is happening. It is our job as legislators to ensure that we are providing the necessary resources to assist victims of human trafficking and prosecute the perpetrators. This bill takes an important step by recognizing that a minor cannot consent to selling sexual services – patronizing a minor is sexual abuse, full stop. I hope that this vote sends a message to victims that they are never at fault for the abuse they’ve suffered.

The bill would:

  • Expand the membership of the state’s Trafficking in Persons Council, including adding an individual who has been a victim of sex trafficking.
  • Increase the penalty for trafficking in persons from a class B to a class A felony, in line with federal statute, and broaden the definition of “sex trafficking”.
  • Create a new crime, “commercial sex abuse of a minor,” which would be a class B felony, and a Class A felony if the minor is under 15 years of age. Patronizing a minor is currently a class C felony.
  • Require an increased number of businesses to post signage with the Trafficking in Persons Council hotline number.
  • Provide and require training for state public safety, legal, and health care employees, and public school employees for identifying and reporting human trafficking.

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Press Release: State Reps. Morin, Cook Applaud House Passage of Anti-Human Trafficking Bill