A new law in Georgia, United States, aims to protect victims of sex-trafficking and increase penalties for those who exploit or coerce women and girls. The law includes a 25-year minimum sentence for coercing sex from any victim under the age of 18. In addition, victims can escape criminal prosecution under the law if they can demonstrate that they were coerced into prostitution, and prosecutors can seize pimps’ assets to set up victim compensation funds.
Some advocates, like Malika Saada Saar of the Rebecca Project for Human Rights in Washington D.C., note that Americans often associate sex trafficking with foreign countries, such as India and Thailand. But sex trafficking is also a growing problem in the United States and features an ever-increasing demand for younger prostitutes.
In 2009, the Minnesota Legislature passed the “Bill for an Act to Combat Trafficking in Minnesota” which increased penalties for traffickers and included more protections for victims. This year, the Advocates for Human Rights are
conducting the Safe Harbors Initiative advocating for a bill, currently moving through the legislature, which would provide protections for victims similar to those under the Georgia law.
Compiled from: Georgia Law Turns Focus on Sex-Trafficked Girls (23 May 2011), Human Sex Trafficking in Minnesota, Safe Harbors Initiative 2011.