SCS/HCS/HB 214 - This act modifies provisions relating to human trafficking. The act adds definitions for "blackmail", "coercion", "financial harm", "nudity", "sexual conduct", "sexual performance" and "victim of trafficking."
This act adds the elements of blackmail to the crime of abusing an individual through forced labor. Blackmail, causing or threatening to cause financial harm as well as using force, abduction, coercion and deception were also added as elements to the crimes of trafficking for the purposes of slavery, trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, sexual trafficking of a child, and sexual trafficking of a child under the age of twelve. This act also adds the elements of sexual performance and production of explicit sexual material to the crimes of trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, sexual trafficking of a child and sexual trafficking of a child under the age of twelve.
This act increases the penalties and adds a monetary fine not to exceed $250,000 for all of the human trafficking crimes except sexual trafficking of a child under the age of 12.
This act enhances the penalty for the crimes of abuse through forced labor and trafficking for purposes of slavery if death results, if the human trafficking act includes kidnapping, an attempt to kidnap, sexual abuse when punishable as a class B felony, or an attempt to kill.
This act also enhances the penalty for the crimes of trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation and sexual trafficking of a child if the crimes were effected by force, abduction, or coercion.
A court sentencing a defendant under the human trafficking provisions shall order the defendant to pay restitution to the victim in the amount the court finds necessary to compensate the victim for the value of the victim's labor and for the mental and physical rehabilitation of the victim and any child of the victim.
It shall be an affirmative defense under any prosecution for prostitution that the defendant engaged in the conduct charged to constitute an offense because he or she was coerced to do so by the use of, or threatened use of, unlawful physical force upon himself or herself or a third person, which force or threatened force a person of reasonable firmness in his or her situation would have been unable to resist.
This act also authorizes the Department of Public Safety to establish procedures for identifying victims of trafficking. The department may establish training programs as well as standard protocols for appropriate agencies to educate officials and employees on state statutes and federal laws regulating human trafficking and with the identification and assistance of victims of human trafficking. Such agencies may include but not be limited to state employees and contractors, including the children's division of the department of social services, juvenile courts, state law enforcement agencies, health care professionals, and runaway and homeless youth shelter administrators.
Law enforcement officers shall notify the Department of Social Services and, where applicable, juvenile justice authorities, of persons who reasonably appear to be a victim of trafficking in order that such agencies may determine whether the person may be eligible for state or federal services, programs, or assistance. The department may coordinate with relevant state, federal, and local agencies to evaluate appropriate services for victims of trafficking.
State agencies may implement programs and enter into contracts with nonprofit agencies, domestic and sexual violence shelters and other nongovernment organizations to provide services to confirmed victims of trafficking, insofar as funds are available for that purpose. The list of possible services is prescribed under the act.
A victim of trafficking may bring a civil action against a person or persons who plead guilty to or are found guilty of a violation of human trafficking to recover the actual damages sustained by the victim, court costs, including reasonable attorney's fees, and punitive damages, when determined to be appropriate by the court. Any such action must be commenced within ten years after the later of (1) the final order in the related criminal case;(2) the victim's emancipation from the defendant; or(3) the victim's eighteenth birthday.
The Attorney General may bring a civil action, in the circuit court in which the victim of trafficking was found, to recover from any person or entity that benefits, financially or by receiving anything of value, from violations of human trafficking, a civil penalty of not more than fifty thousand dollars for each violation of human trafficking, and injunctive and other equitable relief as the court may, in its discretion, order. The first priority of any money or property collected under such an action shall be to pay restitution to the victims of trafficking on whose behalf the civil action was brought.
This act is identical to SCS/SBs 394 and 331 (2011).