Human trafficking

The Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee heard HB 1200 sponsored by Sen. Crider and Sen. Donato regarding human trafficking.  The author, Rep. McNamara, introduced the bill which modifies the definition of “protected person” for purposes of the admission of a statement or videotape of an individual who is less than 14 years of age at the time of the offense. The bill removes the requirement that money paid for a human trafficking victim or for an act performed by a human trafficking victim be paid to a third party. The bill increases the penalty if the human trafficking victim is less than 18 years of age. The bill specifies that: (1) consent by the human trafficking victim; or (2) a belief that the human trafficking victim was at least 18 years of age; is not a defense to a prosecution. The bill also requires law enforcement agencies to report human trafficking investigations to the attorney general within 30 days after an investigation begins.

The bill was amended by consent to add that a defendant must know or “reasonably should know” that an individual is a human trafficking victim.

The Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking, and a number of community members testified in support of the bill. The Indiana Public Defender Council testified in opposition. The amended bill passed 9-0.

Read the bill at: http://www.iga.in.gov/legislative/2021/bills/house/1200