Report by Paula Antolini
June 4, 2017 7:34PM EDT
Rep. Duff Pushes for Tougher Human Trafficking Penalties after Danbury Arrests
HARTFORD – A bill co-sponsored by State Representative Will Duff (R-2) designed to strengthen Connecticut’s Human Trafficking Laws has unanimously passed through both the House and Senate.
The legislation aims to protect the victims of human trafficking while expanding and increasing the penalties on those individuals who perpetrate that crime.
In March, three men were in connection with a human trafficking ring that was operating out of Danbury. According to the arrest warrant, one of the men for almost 20 years sought out young men with varying degrees of psychological disabilities for the purpose of using these individuals for prostitution.
“In Connecticut, those caught trafficking people must and should be severely punished. This legislation carries the charge of a class ‘A’ felony which means they can face up to 25 years in prison,” said Rep. Duff. “Additionally, this legislation takes a strong stand by changing the penalty for patronizing a minor who is being sold for sex to a class ‘A’ felony.”
Rep. Duff added,” Lets end this barbaric and inhuman practice in our state.”
The bill makes changes to current law that would impact the following items:
- Expands the conduct punishable as a trafficking and increases the penalty for the crime.
- Prohibits someone age 16 or 17 from being convicted of prostitution.
- Expands the crime of Enticing a Minor to include enticing a minor age 16 or 17; current law applies to minors under age 16. By law, a person commits this crime by using an interactive computer service to knowingly persuade, induce, entice, or coerce a minor to engage in prostitution or illegal sexual activity.
- Imposes a $2,000 fine for Patronizing a Prostitute from a Motor Vehicle.
- Subjects someone who patronizes a prostitute to this penalty regardless of whether he or she knows or should know the prostitute’s age or status as a trafficking victim. By law, a class C felony is punishable by one to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. By law, other forms of patronizing a prostitute are punishable as a class A misdemeanor. The bill requires a court to impose a $2,000 fine for this crime.
- Requires using money collected from the mandatory $2,000 fines for State Police and local police prostitution and human trafficking investigations.
- Requires more people to post a notice developed by the Office of the Chief Court Administrator about services for human trafficking victims. By law, this notice must state the toll-free state and federal anti-trafficking hotline numbers that someone can call if he or she is forced to engage in an activity and cannot leave.
- Increases the membership of the Trafficking in Persons Council
The bill now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature.
Will Duff represents the 2nd General Assembly District of Bethel, Danbury, Redding and Newtown.