Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Lawmakers co-sponsor bill to combat human trafficking

         Naugatuck Valley female legislators were joined by all of their female colleagues in an unprecedented show of bipartisan cooperation.

        State Representatives Linda M. Gentile, Theresa Conroy and Themis Klarides joined with 54 of their female colleagues in co-sponsoring legislation to combat human trafficking.

       HB 5666 An Act Concerning the Forfeiture of Moneys and Property Related to Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking, combined two other bills on the same topic, HB 6696 and SB 1158.  
   The unanimous consensus and relative ease with which the bill made it through both chambers bespeaks a unilateral intolerance for the crime of trafficking in humans. 

     “Since females of any age are the predominant targets of this terrible crime, it just made perfect sense for this issue to be a priority of the women’s caucus,” said Gentile, D-Ansonia. 
     "Coming together and working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to achieve one common goal demonstrates that although we have our differences, the women in our legislature are not paralyzed by partisan politics.”

     Among its provisions, HB 5666 will:

• Increase criminal penalties for persons patronizing a prostitute under the age of 18;
• Allow the Superior Court to vacate criminal convictions for prostitution involving victims of human trafficking;
• Lower the burden of proof for sex trafficking minors;
• Require the forfeiture of criminal assets derived from commercial sexual exploitation of a minor;
• Add funds and property related to prostitution and 3rd degree promoting prostitution to the types of property subject to forfeiture as tainted  funds and property related to sexual exploitation and human trafficking;
• Require public awareness and education about services for human trafficking victims;
• Direct the Trafficking in Persons Council to identify further deficiencies in general statutes and report to the Judiciary Committee by 1/2014.

    Conroy, D-Seymour, said, “Prostitution is not a victimless crime. Every year women and children are forced into the meat grinder that is the sex industry. Together we passed legislation that targets those that profit from prostitution and hits them in the wallet.”

     “Human trafficking is a disturbing and, sadly, lucrative industry that targets our most vulnerable citizens,” said Klarides, Deputy House Republican Leader. “I’m proud we were able to come together and strengthen penalties for the sick individuals who patronize and perpetuate the sex trade.”

This post is taken from a press release from Gentile's office.

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