HARRISBURG – Legislation introduced by Rep. Valerie Gaydos (R-Allegheny) that would better protect the victims of human trafficking overwhelmingly passed the House Judiciary Committee today.
House Bill 1147
would expand the list of sexual offenses that require offenders to attend and participate in a Department of Corrections program of counseling and therapy designed for incarcerated sex offenders.
“I applaud the House Judiciary Committee for approving this legislation,” said Gaydos. “It is necessary as a result of additions made to the list of sexual offenses (human trafficking) in the Crimes Code specifically the definition of sexual servitude. This bill will require any offender who subjected a minor to sexual servitude to undergo treatment while in prison, thereby helping to reduce recidivism.”
Studies funded by the U.S. Department of Justice have demonstrated that inmates who participate in sex offender treatment programs are significantly less likely to be rearrested upon their release.
“Human trafficking is a horrendous crime, and we need to continue to raise public awareness as well as arm prosecutors and law enforcement with every tool possible to take down traffickers and protect victims,” said Gaydos. “It remains a vile and dangerous threat. Since 2007, there have been almost 1,500 human trafficking cases in the Commonwealth. Human trafficking is modern day slavery, with the most common victims being women and children.”
Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud or coercion to exploit a person for profit. Trafficking victims are subjected to sexual exploitation, forced labor or both.
House Bill 1147 now moves to the full House of Representatives for consideration.
Representative Valerie Gaydos
44th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Rick Leiner