Pennsylvania is making waves to protect victims of human trafficking.
State Senator Stewart Greenleaf introduced a bill to protect child victims of human trafficking from potential prosecution by redirecting them into helpful human services programs instead of the criminal justice system. As a result, victims will have the opportunity to receive specialized trauma healthcare, therapy and services provided by social workers.
PA State Senator Andy Dinniman who co-sponsored the bill said, “The work of so many supporters, advocates and organizations paid off in forcing my fellow lawmakers to confront the harsh reality of human trafficking, a nefarious criminal enterprise that knows no borders, striking in some of our most impoverished communities and our wealthiest enclaves alike.”
Senate Bill 554 also calls for specially designed training for police officers to identify and help sexually exploited children. The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services will develop and carry out “a statewide protocol to deliver safe and stable housing, education and life-skills training, and counseling to children who have been exploited.”
“…It also helps ensure that our law enforcement professionals have the tools they need to bring human traffickers to justice and that our human services personnel have the resources they need to help victims begin and stay on the path to recovery,” Dinniman said.
We’re excited to see laws like this that provide aftercare opportunities for children who are sexually exploited. We’re also grateful for the training this bill will allow so that law enforcement can help to protect and find those who are sexually exploited.
News and Top Image Source: pottsmerc.com
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