Human Trafficking Bill advances

Human trafficking legislation close to final adoption Salem, OR –

By State Senator Betsy Close,Close-betsy-senator

The State Senate approved final changes to a bill aimed at cracking down on human traffickers Friday . Senate Bill 673 B has had a lengthy and uncertain journey through the legislative process, but is now on its way to final approval in the House of Representatives. “It hasn’t been easy to get to this point, but I’m pleased with the final bill we passed today,” said Senator Betsy Close (R – Albany/Corvalis), who has been one of the chief legislative advocates for the bill. “I believe because of this bill there are young girls who will never have to deal with the horrors of sex trafficking. ”

Senate Bill 67 B criminalizes sex trafficking of a minor, increases sentences for perpetrators, suppliers and facilitators of sex trafficking, provides greater protection for child victims of sex trafficking and gives investigators and prosecutors additional tools. Close was able to protect some key provisions of the bill, such a s a first offense felony for soliciting sex with a minor, which at one point were taken out of the bill. The bill also requires registration as a sex offender on the second offense of soliciting sex with a minor. Close hopes to introduce legislation requiring registration on the first offense next session.

“The issue of sex trafficking is an issue of enslavement and oppression, ” said Close. “ It is a critical issue, one we must address. We must never become lax or apathetic in protecting the most vulnerable in our world from the most terrible of crimes. ” Oregon recently received a “D” rating in a report card from Shared Hope International, an organization dedicated to fighting sex trafficking. The report outlined several flaws in Oregon’s sex trafficking law.

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