In February the ACLU and the Urban Justice Center testified on a bill that has some laudable provisions designed to address the scourge of human trafficking, but that also had a number of problematic provisions. The bill provides immunity to trafficked minors only if they state in their defense that they were a trafficking victim – a statement many victims are not ready to make when they are arrested. Other parts of the legislation penalize behavior that was not criminal at the time it was conducted. However, the ACLU succeeded in getting removed a provision that would have turned soliciting prostitution from a misdemeanor into a felony, imposing extremely harsh penalties on individuals engaged in consensual sexual activity. This legislation was passed in the House and the Senate in June and signed by the Governor.
Human Trafficking (H 5300, S 73)
Representative Shelby Maldonado and Senator Cynthia Coyne