Human trafficking frequently victimizes women and children and is the second largest criminal enterprise in the world. It is also one of the fastest growing and it is happening right here in Pennsylvania.
Three bills adopted by the House of Representatives earlier this year as part of a package of measures designed to combat human trafficking in the Commonwealth were recently signed into law.
Act 32 of 2021
prohibits defendants in human trafficking cases from introducing evidence of a victim’s past sexual victimization or allegations, ensuring victims have the same protections provided to victims of other sexual abuse offenses outlined in the Rape Shield Law.
Act 38 of 2021
adds human trafficking and strangulation to the list of convictions affecting a child custody determination. Prior law already paid special attention to violent offenses such as homicide, sex offenses and kidnapping. With one in seven children reported missing becoming victims of child sex trafficking, the goal of this new law is to prevent more children from suffering the same fate.
Act 45 of 2021
expands the list of offenses that require state inmates to participate in Department of Corrections counseling or therapy for sex offenders to include those convicted of human trafficking involving sexual servitude or other criminal offenses related to the sexual abuse of a minor. Studies funded by the U.S. Department of Justice have demonstrated that participants in sex offender treatment programs are significantly less likely to be rearrested upon their release.
Human trafficking is defined as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of people through force, fraud or deception, for forced labor or sexual exploitation. If you or someone you know is the victim of this horrible crime, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text 233733.
Representative Tarah Toohil
116th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office
RepToohil.com / Facebook.com/RepToohil