HARRISBURG -Human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of people through force, fraud or deception, for forced labor or sexual exploitation.
On Tuesday, the House passed a package of bills, co-sponsored by Rep. Frank Ryan (R-Lebanon), that would make it easier to prosecute human traffickers and protect victims.
“Human trafficking is more prevalent than you might think,” said Ryan. “Women and children are frequently the targets of this heinous crime and it is occurring right here in Pennsylvania. By advancing the following bills, we aim to make the Commonwealth a ‘No-Go Zone’ for human traffickers.”
• House Bill 1130
- would add human trafficking offenses involving sexual servitude to the list of offenses requiring perpetrators to register under the Sexual Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
• House Bill 580
- would allow expert testimony in court on the dynamics of sexual servitude and other criminal offenses involving sexual abuse of a minor.
• House Bill 246
- would prohibit defendants in human trafficking cases from introducing evidence of a victim’s past sexual victimization or allegations thereof.
• House Bill 1147
- would expand the list of offenses that require state inmates to participate in Department of Corrections counseling or therapy for sex offenders to include those convicted of human trafficking involving sexual servitude or other criminal offenses involving sexual abuse of a minor.
• House Bill 753
- would strengthen the penalty for “Dealing in Infant Children” from a misdemeanor of the first degree to a felony of the first degree as infants are trafficked for future enslavement.
• House Bill 231
- would add human trafficking to existing law constituting the crime of unlawful contact with a minor when the trafficking involves sexual servitude or abuse.
• House Bill 843
- would add human trafficking offenses to the list of convictions affecting a child custody determination.
• House Bill 1096
- would allow lawsuits against human traffickers to be brought where the victim resides or where the violations occurred.
The legislation now goes to the Senate for consideration. Pennsylvania was ranked fourth in the nation in the number of criminal human trafficking cases in 2019.
Representative Frank Ryan
101st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Donna Pinkham