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Dinniman: Pa. Will Soon Have New Anti-Human Trafficking Law
On July 1, 2014
A Unanimous Senate Sends SB 75 to Governor’s Desk
WEST CHESTER (July 1) – State Senator Andy Dinniman applauded passage of the anti-human trafficking bill that he and fellow lawmakers unanimously approved and sent to the governor’s desk on Monday.
Senate Bill 75, which will give Pennsylvania its first comprehensive legal definition of human trafficking and provide other tools to combat the crime, is expected to be signed by the governor.
Under Pennsylvania’s existing human-trafficking laws, prosecutors have only secured one conviction for human trafficking despite Pennsylvania being a known route and destination for traffickers. The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape estimates that more than 100,000 U.S. citizens — mostly young girls – are trafficked for prostitution annually across the United States.
As requested by the Polaris Project and local grassroots groups like the Chester County Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition, Senate Bill 75 also will strengthen protections for such victims both during any subsequent court processes and afterward in the form of civil causes as action against their traffickers.
Dinniman said, “Fourteen months ago I gathered with several hundred residents, faith leaders, elected leaders and others in the Chester County Historical Society and we discussed the modern-day horror of human trafficking, and we mapped out our plan to do something about it through Senate Bill 75.”
“Now we are about to reach our goal: Senate bill 75 is about to become the new law of Pennsylvania. The credit belongs to the grassroots groups in Chester County and throughout the state that worked tirelessly to end this modern-day slavery, and I am proud to cross the finish line with them,” Dinniman said.
“Of course, our work is not finished. I give Senate Bill 75 an A-plus in terms of new tools for prosecuting trafficking and an A-minus in terms of protecting trafficking’s victims,” Dinniman said. “Unfortunately, I can only give it a B grade in terms of preventing human trafficking in the first place, and that is where we have to pick up the slack through voluntary efforts to increase awareness of human trafficking within both the general public and law enforcement.”
Already, beginning in 2015 the Commonwealth will begin instructing local police officers in how to spot potential human trafficking victims, according to the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association.
For more information contact Senator Dinniman’s Office at 610-692-2112.