Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Georgia House Bill Addresses Human Trafficking

On a better note than our last post about the Georgia legislature, a bipartisan group is tackling human trafficking and underage prostitution in our state.

According to the AJC, "House Bill 200 is designed to help law enforcement and prosecutors go after people who traffic in people, especially minors, for sexual servitude."

The proposal increases penalties for the crime to those similar to drug trafficking, with offenders facing up to 20 years in prison for human trafficking and 50 years in prison for trafficking in minors.

The bill also treats those in sexual servitude as victims, not criminals, by offering them recovery under the state crime victims fund and an affirmative defense when coming forward.

“Human trafficking for sexual servitude is one of the most serious criminal problems facing our state,” said Lindsey, R-Atlanta. “[The bill is] designed to make it easier to go after this crime and treat the victims with compassion and give an avenue to get out of the trap that was laid for them.”
Atlanta is a nation-wide hub for human trafficking, and it is nice to see the problem being addressed on a statewide level. The focus on treating women and children who are trafficked and prostituted as victims of their traffickers is also a very welcome change. Though our organization focuses on violence against women by their intimate partners, all forms of gender-based violence are intrinsically linked, and we cannot have freedom from one while others still exists. To learn more, visit the Atlanta Human Trafficking Project.

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