Harrisburg – Sen. Bob Mensch (R-24) said Senate passed legislation Wednesday that will combat human trafficking by enacting stronger penalties against all individuals who support the exploitation of victims.
Senate Bill 60 would increase penalties against any individual who patronizes a victim of human trafficking, including any individual who recruits, solicits, advertises, transports, or profits off a human trafficking victim. Tougher penalties are also levied for offenses committed against minors.
“Human trafficking includes abhorrent crime of ‘sex slavery.’ The average age a child is forced into sex slavery is 12 years old,” Mensch said. “This legislation builds on earlier efforts to shift the focus of state law from punishing the victims of trafficking to punishing those who traffic victims and those who would buy sex from them.
Under the bill, the most serious offenders who directly participate in the trafficking of minors for prostitution and related crimes could face imprisonment of 40 years or more. Fines and penalties against offenders who solicit the services of human trafficking victims would also see significant increases, including fines of up to $50,000 for repeat offenders.
All fines collected under the bill would be deposited into special funds to prevent human trafficking and support sexually exploited children.
The bill was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
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