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Tougher Penalties Against Human Trafficking

/ WDAC

HARRISBURG – York County lawmakers – Rep. Seth Grove and Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill – unveiled the Buyer Beware Act to increase penalties on criminals convicted of certain human trafficking offenses. Grove’s legislation will be introduced as House Bill 12 and Phillips-Hill’s bill will be Senate Bill 60. The legislation would double the maximum jail sentence for an individual convicted of trafficking or patronizing a victim of trafficking. Currently, these crimes carry a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison. The bill would upgrade these to first-degree felonies, which carry a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison. In addition, those convicted of patronizing a victim of sexual trafficking would receive an increased fine of between $1,000 and $30,000, up from $500, at the discretion of the court. If the victim is a minor at the time of the offense, the fine would be increased to a minimum of $5,000 and a maximum of $100,000. In light of the connection between prostitution and human trafficking, the legislation would also increase fines for repeat offenders of those patronizing prostitutes. A second-time offender would face an additional fine of between $1,000, and $20,000; a third-time offender would see an additional fine of between $5,000 and $30,000; and a fourth-time offender would receive an additional fine of between $10,000 and $50,000. The money from the fine would go to fund grants given to anti-trafficking programs and the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund. The bill would also expand the definition of human trafficking in the state Crimes Code to match federal law. The expanded definition would include any individual who patronizes or advertises a victim of trafficking.

SEN. KRISTIN PHILLIPS-HILL

REP. SETH GROVE

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