A comprehensive anti-trafficking bill introduced by Senator Mike Padden and adopted unanimously on March 4 by the Washington State Senate could help Washington earn the first “A” in the nation for its child sex trafficking laws.
Shared Hope International, an international anti-trafficking organization, released a report in November 2012 grading every state on its laws that pertain to domestic minor sex trafficking. Washington was rated the top state in the nation for strong laws against domestic minor sex trafficking in 2011, but slipped behind Louisiana in 2012.
Shared Hope created the Protected Innocence Challenge state report cards as a way to measure state legislative progress and hold the states accountable for laws that either help or hurt America’s children. As trafficking methods become more advanced, state legislation must provide law enforcement and justice officials tools to combat it.
The changes SB 5669 would make to state anti-trafficking laws include expanding the definition of “communication with a minor for immoral purposes” to cover the purchase or sale of commercial sex acts and sex trafficking; adding to the definition of first- and second-degree trafficking; and making the penalties for those who patronize child prostitutes stronger. The bill would also add trafficking and commercial sexual abuse of a child to the list of sex offenses that require sex-offender registration and the list of crimes that can trigger charges under the state’s criminal profiteering law. (end)