Rep. Lindsey Introduces Human Trafficking Bill

February 11, 2011 15:34 pm

by Buzz Brockway · 32 comments

Wednesday House Whip Edward Lindsey introduced HB200 to fight human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of children. I was proud to co-sponsor this legislation.

I was going to write an explanation about the bill but Shep linked to an article by Kyle Wingfield that does a better job than I could.

For people charged with human trafficking, the bill would prohibit such defenses as relation by blood or marriage (for parents exploiting their own children, or men pimping their own wives). It also bars such defenses as “I didn’t know she was 15 years old…she looked 20 to me!” or “Hey, she’s been a prostitute before.”

Penalties for human traffickers would also be significantly beefed up, with the possibility of life in prison if the victim was under 18, and new fines of up to $100,000. What’s more, the state could seize any real or personal property that a trafficker used for, or bought with the proceeds of, the crime.

In a nod to the fact that many trafficking victims in Georgia come from other countries, the bill’s definition of “coercion” includes threats to destroy victims’ passports or turn them into immigration authorities.

As for sexual exploitation, the bill would block charges for anyone forced to commit sex crimes, including prostitution, against his or her will.

Georgia’s new attorney general, Sam Olens, had members of his staff work with Lindsey on the bill’s language as part of a broader effort to help lawmakers draft legislation that is more legally sound (and defensible in court).

HB200 has been assigned to the Judiciary Non-Civil committee.

John Konop February 11, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Ed Lindsey and Buzz have demonstrated they are quality people representing us all and I thank you for thoughtful legislation like this keep up the great work!

Chris February 11, 2011 at 3:46 pm

I wish they’d let communities vote rather than just banning it outright. Plus we could probably pre-fund HOPE for 10 years on the taxes it would bring in the next time the Super Bowl was played in Atlanta.

Harry February 11, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Even I would consider child prostitution in a higher-level category of concern than Sunday sales!

Ambernappe February 11, 2011 at 10:29 pm

Exactly what do you mean “let communities vote”? Do you need a graphic explanation of “trafficking”?

Lady Thinker February 11, 2011 at 11:19 pm

I am hoping that Chris was being sarcastic but his comment is very callous.

PegM February 11, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Good work Buzz! This is an important distinction and partners well with the work Senator Unterman is doing.

Tiberius February 11, 2011 at 3:58 pm

+10 for Sen. Unterman

Three Jack February 11, 2011 at 3:55 pm

looks like a high cost piece of legislation that georgia cannot afford at this time.

John Konop February 11, 2011 at 5:02 pm

TJ,

You think it is more cost affective to let adults’ traffic minors? And your solution is not to have the AG Sam Olens go after this abusive behavior? Have you lost your mind?

Three Jack February 11, 2011 at 5:56 pm

john, do you realize it is already against the law to participate in human trafficking? do you realize georgia faces a multi-billion dollar shortfall over the next couple of budgets? do you know how much this piece of legislation if passed will add to that deficit?

piling new laws on top of old laws does not eradicate problems konop.

John Konop February 11, 2011 at 6:43 pm

TJ,

Sam Olens is a very bright attorney. Obviously we must have issues with the current law or he would not help change it with the help of the legislator. What are your legal credentials? I know Sam and have read your comments with your lack of logic at times my money is on Sam knowing this issue, not you.

BTW do you have any facts showing the fincial difference of putting a rapist human trafficking dirt bag away against the reduction of the dirt bag creating drug addicted prostitutes? I do think most of us would have no issue with throwing away the key on pimps who traffic minors.

John Konop February 11, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Sorry

…financial…..

Ambernappe February 11, 2011 at 10:37 pm

And your calculation of “cost” is based on what? No one can afford, at any time, to allow the underworld crime syndicates, or anyone else to reap profit from the exploitation of the lost innocence of our children. Your comments indicate a lack of understanding of the problem, nor do you understand or appreciate the value of the thousands of citizens who are undertaking to rid our city and state of this scourge. I pray that you will come to some understanding of the problem.

Ambernappe February 12, 2011 at 5:00 pm

-100 Harry and Three Jack……………..

Harry February 11, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Is there opposition? I ‘m beginning to wonder if the legislature is planning to deal with anything this session beyond mom and apple pie issues.

Shep February 11, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Devil’s in the details. The bill last year failed because there were too many concerns that it would not allow law enforcement the ability to safely extract the child from the situation. Sam Olens and Ed Lindsey have done a great job addressing that issue, an issue that kept me from supporting the legislation last year as well.

Ambernappe February 11, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Believe me, placing a child in a room with a mattress on the floor, and requiring her to “service” anyone who comes through the door is FAR from an apple pie issue! Can you imagine the Godlessness and indecency of a person who can accept $75,000. to $100,000.+ per child, per year from this exploitation? What is an adequate punishment?

Rick Day February 11, 2011 at 9:30 pm

I’m not too keen on asset forfeiture getting a foothold in GA on a state level any more than it may be. RICO is not the citizens friend, it is government’s.

In defense of three jack, I know that even the brightest of attorneys can fail to see the long term implication of ‘tough on crime’ laws. Often, someone unintended perp is caught in the loop, or the law seems like a great idea at the time, only to have some constitutional weakness that allows true offenders to go free under a technicality.

The Feds have an excellent track record handling this travesty. We need less criminal laws, not more.

Posturing; it is what bright attorneys who run for public office do. Laws don’t ‘prevent’ crime, they only punish those few caught.

Oh and in before BUT IT’S FOR THE CHILDREN!™

Rick Day February 11, 2011 at 9:50 pm

whooooooooo boy. Reading that bill is quite a roller coaster.

The stated purpose of the bill is to “Discourage” the activity.

*cue “Feelz Good!”*

It won’t. You know it won’t and so do the traffickers. These guys who bring in the illegals and kids are not the ‘traffickers’ they are just mules. So you are going to put a crap-ton of low level mules in the prison system for life. The same guys who are not doing it for the money, they are doing it because their families will be murdered at home if they don’t.

So if we already know it will fail in it’s “intended” purpose (unless its purpose is to provides a spiffy T.O.C. sound byte come election cycle)

There are a few things I don’t like in there, a lot of arbitrary and subjective stuff (what exactly is ‘emotional trauma’ to someone who has been sexually active for several years?)

Just who is a ‘trafficker’? Could a large corporation that allows supervisors to solicit migrant or illegal construction workers be considered a trafficker of people? What if an illegal is ‘hurt on the job’? What if they felt ‘coerced’ to take the job otherwise their family may go hungry?

Ambernappe February 11, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Mr. Day- Your sarcasm is a sorry attempt to diminish the shame and indignity imposed on children who are trapped in a horrible cycle of physical servitude. What do you mean “sexually active”? In this case, “sexually active” is a sorrowful euphemism for an ungodly imprisonment of a human who has been stripped of all dignity and personhood in what might have been the very prime of a productive life.

Harry February 11, 2011 at 11:32 pm

I don’t know that he’s being sarcastic, but the points he raises are mitigating circumstances to consider in the sentencing phase and not really arguments against the legislation. But I have to ask to what extent this is just bipartisan feel-good. Sure, it’s disgusting business and the legislation can tidy up the prosecution and that’s a good thing, but is what amounts to simple legislative housekeeping by the Attorney General staff worthy of so much unnecessary grandstanding on all sides? Shouldn’t we be discussing more controversial things like how to reduce the budget? Is this a diversion?

“We’ve had way too much bipartisanship” – Ron Paul

Shep February 11, 2011 at 11:53 pm

Does everyone realize that all state and national crime stats put the Atlanta area and the State of Georgia #1 for this type of crime? There are only 13 cities in the world where child sex trafficking is a worse problem than it is in Atlanta. That’s not a stat I want to use to talk the NFL into bringing the Super Bowl back here.

B Balz February 12, 2011 at 7:42 am

I have read on this very forum ‘cute chatter’ about the Macon Spa’s, and even that sort of ‘innocent banter’ speaks to Ambernappe’s revulsion of this heinous crime.

The real ‘cure’ is to make visiting such a place a major felony. Really it isn’t that hard to find this sort of operation, and punishing those that frequent such a place will put a damper on the blatant and open nature of operations.

Atlanta’s lifeblood industry, conventions, place unnatural demand for these places. Our many military bases are surrounded by such operations. Nice upscale areas have Spa’s that are not providing legal services. It is accepted in the local community, or at least a blind eye is provided.

This activity can only exist if there are men that go there and do that.

Ambernappe February 12, 2011 at 5:11 pm

I am deeply offended that anyone would infer or imply that this crime against nature, in any form of religion, is “bi-partisan feel good” of a diversion from important legislation such as the financial integrirt of the Georgia. Somehow, it does not seem to comply with anything that I have read or heard about Libertarians!

Harry February 12, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Sorry, my impression is that the propaganda about this legislation – however necessary it may indeed be – is feelgood designed to take the heat off more controversial issues facing the legislative body. They don’t want to deal with the hard issues in the public forum if at all, and child prostitution provides a great diversionary tactic.

Ambernappe February 12, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Sorry – too intense – should be integrity…………….

saltycracker February 13, 2011 at 10:25 am

HB200 (3) ‘Labor servitude’ means work or service of economic or financial value which is performed or provided by another person and is induced or obtained by coercion or deception.

So help me understand if this bill can be applied to coyotes bringing in illegals or to contractors or individuals knowingly picking illegals up off street corners for work ?

Or those hiring illegals as houseworkers ?

So a church collects money to pay a coyote to bring in a relative of an illegal immigrant for some family humanitarian cause – are they human trafficing under this law ?

saltycracker February 13, 2011 at 11:03 am

Correction – take out word “knowingly” as a lack of knowledge is not a defense in this bill….maybe my draconian impression of this bill is misinterpreted but don’t know how, in this permissive atmosphere of illegals & illegal papers, to avoid their employment at some time…..

Ambernappe February 13, 2011 at 11:27 am

A key phrase is “commercial sexual exploitation of children” (CSEC).

saltycracker February 13, 2011 at 11:41 am

If protecting children from sexual servitude is what this bill is about, it can’t strike hard enough…….but am I misreading it as a very big net also addressing labor servitude and defining that very broadly ?

HB200 “A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Titles 16, 17, and 35 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to crimes and offenses, criminal procedure, and law enforcement, respectively, so as to discourage trafficking of persons for labor or sexual servitude and provide greater protections to persons subject to such crimes; ………..”

saltycracker February 13, 2011 at 12:04 pm

HB200
65 (b) A person commits the offense of trafficking a person for labor servitude when that
66 person knowingly subjects another person to or maintains another person in labor servitude
67 or knowingly recruits, entices, harbors, transports, provides, or obtains by any means
68 another person for the purpose of labor servitude.

Bucky Plyler February 14, 2011 at 10:01 am

Hi Buzz. I have 2 questions.
1.) Does the bill require (or allow in its application) that prositutes 18 & under will not be charged with prostitution?
2) In effect, will the bill make it more difficult to prosecute older prostitutes?

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