A democratic representative from Salt Lake City has proposed two new amendments regarding human trafficking legislation. The main objective of this regulation is to protect vulnerable persons and trafficked children. Angela Romero is the representative who wants to protect all vulnerable groups through the HB20 Act.
In order to raise the public’s awareness, Romero shared the story of a woman with autism, who was a victim of sex trafficking. A couple from Ogden was running a sex club in their own house and they forced this vulnerable young girl to offer sexual services. The saddest part of this story is the woman wasn’t aware of what was happening to her. Her mother declared that because of her condition, she had the level of a 15-year-old. It is very important to know that in Utah, the human trafficking of adults is considered a second-degree felony while trafficking children is a first-degree crime.
Young people should be protected
The authorities consider the children are more vulnerable because they have a lower capacity to understand the situation and to grant their consent. If the new amendments are approved, human trafficking of a vulnerable person (anyone who has mental problems or a person who is more than 65 years old) will be considered a first-degree felony. Another important objective of HB108 is to modify some parts of the law in order for the children engaged in commercial sex to be treated as victims, not perpetrators.
The authorities that encounter youngsters engaged in commercial sex will have to investigate whether the respective persons are human trafficking victims. Angela Romero declared that anyone who is under 18 is considered to be a human trafficking victim and shouldn’t be considered an active participant in commercial sex. HB108 will allow the Law enforcement officers not to charge the children proven to have been trafficked.
Human traffickers should receive harsh sentences
As Angela Romero has mentioned, the best solution to this problem is to increase the penalties for the persons engaged in human trafficking and to offer protection to the ones who have been trafficked. The authorities want to send a clear message to the traffickers: they will receive harsh sentences that are on par with kidnapping, rape, murder or sexual abuse. A report made by the National Human Trafficking Hotline shows that human trafficking has grown in the last years. The public representatives should be aware of this situation and they should think of an appropriate way to solve this issue.
It is already known that human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. The majority of the persons involved in this illegal activity are children, youngsters and women. All these victims are forced to sell their sexual services. It is estimated that each year, in the United States around 17,500 persons are trafficked. On top of that, approximately 300,000 American youths face the risk of becoming victims of sexual exploitation.
In general, the victims of sexual exploitation come from abusive families. The majority of them live on the streets and prostitution is their only chance to support themselves financially. This is the reason why the authorities want to find a solution in order to protect all these vulnerable young persons.