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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: May 4, 2015 04:23 PM
From: Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf and Sen. Daylin Leach
To: All Senate members
Subject: Safe Harbor in Human Trafficking
We intend to introduce legislation that will immunize the child victims of human trafficking from criminal prosecution. Over 100,000 children are exploited through prostitution in the United States each year. Adults psychologically manipulate these children and provide them illegal drugs. As a consequence, children have been charged with prostitution, drug possession, loitering, and other offenses that are inherently related to prostitution.

These children are victims, not criminals, and they deserve the protection of the child welfare system, not re-victimization and incarceration in the juvenile justice system. Not only is this the right thing to do by these exploited children, it is also the most effective way to help law enforcement target the traffickers and pimps who are the real criminals.

Our bill will impose a duty on law enforcement officers to report to the Department of Human Services any encounter with a person under the age of 18 who has been subject to sexual exploitation. The Department will develop and implement a statewide protocol to deliver safe long-term housing, education and life-skills training, and counseling to the children who have been exploited. The bill will require that police officers be trained to identify and assist sexually exploited children. Most important, the bill will require that sexually exploited children will be diverted from the criminal justice system to more appropriate human services.

Please join us in supporting this bill by becoming a cosponsor.

Introduced as SB851