HARRISBURG – The House today moved forward with legislation that would better protect the victims of human trafficking, the bill’s prime sponsor Rep. Valerie Gaydos (R-Allegheny) announced.
Gaydos’ bill is part of a package of eight bills being advanced by the House this week to address the crime of human trafficking.
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.
“This legislation 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,” said Gaydos.
Programs that incorporate the risk-need-responsivity model are far more effective at reducing recidivism than those that do not. Research has shown mental health treatment to be vital for offenders of sexual crimes.
“The effectiveness of treatment depends on a number of factors, including the type of offender, the type of treatment and how much management, supervision and support the offender has,” said Gaydos. “Although the risk of recidivism exists even in the best of cases, most offenders can and will lead productive and offense-free lives after treatment.”
Human trafficking is the unlawful act of transporting or coercing people in order to benefit from their work or service, typically in the form of forced labor or sexual exploitation. It involves the use of force, fraud or coercion to abuse a person for profit.
“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. “No one should have to experience the trauma these victims are going through every day. The sexual exploitation of men, women and children through sex trafficking continues to occur in the Commonwealth at an increasingly alarming rate. Human traffickers need to be stopped now!”
House Bill 1147 now moves to the state Senate for consideration.
Representative Valerie Gaydos
44th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives