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State Senator

Tim Larson

Representing East Hartford, East Windsor, Ellington & South Windsor

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Senate Passes Bipartisan Bill to Combat Human Trafficking

The Connecticut Senate today passed a bill to combat human trafficking in Connecticut through increased penalties, training and awareness.

HB 7309, An Act Concerning Human Trafficking, aims to prevent sex trafficking by adding members to the state’s Trafficking in Persons Council, increasing penalties for sex trafficking, and providing greater education to state agencies.

“This legislation builds upon the bill we passed last year updating our state’s human trafficking laws, and specifically adds language to increase the penalties for perpetrators of this heinous crime,” said Senator Tim Larson (D-East Hartford), the Democratic senate chairman of the legislature’s Public Safety and Security Committee. “It also ramps up the public awareness component of last year’s legislation, because it’s critical that our community partners on the ground who are most likely to encounter victims and perpetrators of human trafficking know the signs and how to report it. We need to do all we can to educate the public on this crucial issue in order to prevent this horrible crime from happening, and protect and assist those who have been victimized by traffickers.”

The bill would:

  • Expand the membership of the state’s Trafficking in Persons Council, including adding an individual who has been a victim of sex trafficking.
  • Increase the penalty for trafficking in persons from a class B to a class A felony, punishable by up to 25 years in prison in line with federal statute, and broaden the definition of “sex trafficking”.
  • Create a new crime, “commercial sex abuse of a minor,” which would be a class B felony, and a Class A felony if the minor is under 15 years of age. Patronizing a minor is currently a class C felony.
  • Require an increased number of businesses to post signage with the Trafficking in Persons Council hotline number.
  • Provide and require training for state public safety, legal, and health care employees, and public school employees for identifying and reporting human trafficking.

The bill passed on a unanimous and bipartisan basis in the House of Representatives on May 17 and in the Senate Friday morning. It goes next to the desk of Governor Dannel P. Malloy for his signature.

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