Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Celebrate the Passing of the 6476 Senate Bill!!

Major improvements related to crimes and provisions related to
Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking

Celebrate with us as Senate Bill 6476, introduced by Senators Stevens
and Hargrove, with major provision advancements in the fight against
the slavery of Washington State minors was signed by Governor Gregoire
on April 1st. Thanks to Shared Hope International for helping to
introduce the bill to our State to increase prosecution of
traffickers, significant increase in penalties for pimps & "johns",
and more defined services for trafficking survivors. Much more needs
to be done but this is just the beginning of more to come.

As important, huge thanks goes to all of you who attended the Human
Trafficking Engagement Day back in Olympia back on January 11th
because our presence at the Capitol and the packets delivered by
volunteers made a huge impact. Also, those made phone calls or sent
emails supporting this bill guaranteed unanimous vote for several anti-
trafficking bills. Thank you so much for your activism.

Please read the following so you would see how significant the changes
are related to this bill. The wordings are excerpts provided by Shared
Hope International.

Summary of SB 6476:

1. Provide Access to Specialized Services and Shelter. The bill
requires mandatory diversion for a first prostitution-related
"offense," irrespective of any criminal history. Importantly, the bill
helps fund the specialized staffing and services through a priority
use of the fines collected from buyers and pimps which are to be
deposited into the Prostitution Prevention and Intervention Account.

2. Close the Gap in Crime Victims' Compensation Eligibility. The bill
makes explicit that a person identified as a minor in an offense
regarding the Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor (CSAM) is considered
a victim for the purpose of receiving benefits under the Victim
Compensation Benefits Program, even if the minor is also charged with

3. Increase Penalties for Buyers. "Johns" now face a sentence of 21 -
144 months in jail instead of 1 - 68 months, and fines are increased
from $550 to $5,000 which will be deposited into the Prostitution
Prevention and Intervention Account.

4. Increase Penalties for Traffickers. Traffickers (pimps) now face 93
- 318 months in jail instead of 21 - 144 months; and are subject to a
new fine of $5,000 which will be deposited into the Prostitution
Prevention and Intervention Account.

5. Increase the Risks for Buyers and Traffickers. The bill requires
the impounding of vehicles used to commit commercial sex abuse of a
minor if owned or rented by the defendant and raises the fee to
release the car to $2,500 which will be deposited into the
Prostitution Prevention and Intervention Account.

6. No Age Defense Allowed for Buyer or Trafficker. The bill adds the
crime of buying sex with a minor to the crimes that do not allow a
defense that the defendant did not know the alleged victim's age. The
defendant can assert that a reasonable attempt was made to determine
the true age of the victim by checking a driver's license, marriage
license, birth certificate, or other identification card or paper and
did not rely solely on the minor's stated or apparent age.

7. Mandate Critical Training. Law enforcement is required to develop a
model policy on procedures relating to a victim of domestic minor sex
trafficking by December 1, 2010 and training on the model policy must
be developed by January 1, 2011.

Grateful for your partnership,

Rose Gundersen
On behalf of the SAS Legislative Advocacy Team

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