Lawmakers consider changes to combat sex trafficking

The Criminal Code Evaluation Commission met August 18, 2011, to hear presentations on the issues of sex trafficking and other sex offenses. Presentations detailed current statutes and penalties, the objective being to determine whether Indiana needs to change current offenses, add offenses, or change penalties.

The Office of Attorney General Deputies David Miller and Abby Kuzma presented to the committee information concerning human trafficking for sex.  The Attorney General’s Office testified that there are some deficiencies in Indiana law which will make prosecution for aspects of the offense of human trafficking difficult.  Because Indiana will be hosting the next Super Bowl, Deputy Kuzma urged the committee to act quickly to move legislation to correct the deficiencies because, as she testified, it has been shown that large events, attended mostly by men, with a party atmosphere, result in increased human trafficking for sex.

Attorneys General Nationwide are working together: For year 2011-2012, The National Association of Attorneys General made combating human trafficking a key initiative (PDF).

Thousands of Children are at risk: It is estimated that 100,000 to 300,000 children, between ages 11-14, are at risk of being sexually exploited.

Indiana law is inadequate to address issue when person trafficked is under 18:  Deputy Kuzma suggested the following changes be made to Indiana law:

  • Criminalize a person who knowingly attempts to traffick a person who is less than 18.
  • Insert language that lack of knowledge that the victim was under 18 is not a defense.
  • Insert language that consent from a victim who is under 18 is not a defense.
  • Amend language in the current law so that any adult who attempts to traffick a person under 18 years of age may be prosecuted. Current statute prohibits “. . .parent(s), guardian(s), or custodian(s). . .” from trafficking a person less than 18.

What’s Next for the Committee:  The next meeting is September 9 at 1:00pm. The committee will consider the proposed changes and if changes are adopted, the procedures necessary to expedite the passage of those changes prior to the Super Bowl on February 5, 2012.

General Criminal Code Evaluation Commission information: The criminal code evaluation commission is established to evaluate the criminal laws of Indiana. If, based on the commission’s evaluation, the commission determines that changes are necessary or appropriate, the commission shall make recommendations to the general assembly for the modification of the criminal laws.  This Commission expires December 31, 2012.