OLYMPIA — Eight bipartisan bills to combat human trafficking, including legislation to keep minors from being exploited through online ads for escort services such as Backpage.com, were passed today by the Senate and are now sent to the House of Representatives for consideration. Two more anti-trafficking bills are expected to pass tomorrow.
Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D—Seattle, sponsor of Senate Bill 6251 to keep minors from being sexually exploited through online ads for adult escort services said, “Human trafficking is a billion-dollar industry that exploits the most vulnerable, especially minors. We must do everything possible to raise the bar for protection against these crimes, and the ability to prosecute offenders when they occur.”
“I’m pleased to see the Senate pass these important bills to protect our most vulnerable citizens,” said Sen. Jerome Delvin, R—Richland, sponsor of SB 6254. “One of my bills, for example, addresses the horrific cases we have heard about mentally-disabled individuals being taken advantage of by traffickers. It is a shame that we have people out there who would commit such crimes, but as long as there are, we will do everything in our power to give law enforcement the tools to bring these criminals to justice.”
Human trafficking includes the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for labor, sex, organ transplants or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt, bondage or slavery.
Bills passed off the Senate floor include:
- SB 6251: Regulating online advertising of commercial sexual abuse of a minor (Sens. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, Jerome Delvin, R-Richland)
- SB 6252: Addressing commercial sexual abuse of a minor and promoting prostitution in the first degree (Sens. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, Joseph Zarelli, R-Ridgefield)
- SB 6253: Concerning seizure and forfeiture of property in commercial sexual abuse of a minor and promoting prostitution in the first degree crimes (Sens. Tracey Eide, D-Federal Way, Adam Kline, D- Seattle)
- SB 6254: Compelling a person with a mental disability to engage in prostitution is promoting prostitution in the 1st degree, even absent the use of force (Sens. Jerome Delvin, R-Richland, Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam)
- SB 6256: Adding commercial sexual abuse of a minor to the list of criminal street gang-related offenses (Sens. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma, Jerome Delvin, R-Richland)
- SB 6257: Addressing sexually explicit performance (Sens. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma)
- SB 6258: Concerning unaccompanied persons (Sens. Val Stevens, R-Arlington, Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood)
- SB 6103: Removing the practice of reflexology from the exemptions from licensure for massage or massage therapy. Granting authority to the secretary of health to conduct inspections of massage business establishments (Sens. Karen Keiser, D-Kent, Karen Fraser, D-Olympia)
Two bills expected to be voted off the Senate floor tomorrow are:
- SB 6255: Vacating sentences for underage victims (Sens. Karen Fraser, D-Olympia, Adam Kline, D- Seattle)
- SB 6260: Revising registration requirements and fees charged for various criminal offenses (Sens. Jerome Delvin, R-Richland, Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle)
Human trafficking is an epidemic not only in Washington, but across the nation and world. Kohl-Welles cited a recent New York Times story, ‘How pimps use the web to sell girls’ as just one example of the horrors of child prostitution that occur every day.
# # #
For more information:
Alison Dempsey-Hall, Senate Democratic Communications, 360-786-7887