I did something this morning I’ve never done. I attended an Indiana State Senate committee meeting. The committee was discussing Senate Bill 4 which was authored and introduced by Senator Randy Head. The purpose of the bill is to close some loopholes in current laws related to human trafficking. The bill will do three things. First, the bill makes sex trafficking of a minor (16 years and under) a Class A felony regardless of whether or not the trafficker was the minor’s parent or guardian. Secondly, the bill expands what can be prosecuted as human trafficking to include sexual conduct (forced dancing, stripping, etc.) not just prostitution. Finally the bill removes the necessity to prove force in sex trafficking cases involving victims who are 16 and under. The Indiana Attorney General’s office and the Marion County Prosecutor’s office as well as several representatives from local nonprofits and area churches attended the committee meeting in support of the bill. All the senators present voted to pass the bill out of committee. The bill is not yet law, but I feel confident it will be enacted into law prior to the Super Bowl. Here is a link to the bill: http://www.in.gov/apps/lsa/session/billwatch/billinfo?year=2012&session=1&request=getBill&doctype=SB&docno=0004
At the committee meeting today I was encouraged by our Attorney General as well as other law makers. Our state law makers are beginning to recognize the severity of the human trafficking issue and the need to make some significant changes to deter traffickers. I also know that our voice matters. You can find out your representative from this link: http://district.iga.in.gov/DistrictLookup/. Contact your representative to let that lawmaker know you support the final passage of Senate Bill 4. This bill is on the fast track so contact them soon!