Concerned Women for America (CWA) of Georgia stands in support of H.B. 200, a bill that seeks to strengthen the human trafficking code in Georgia and also provides a pathway for true trafficking victims to obtain the services and care they need. H.B. 200 has had several modifications over the past several weeks, and we support the version of the bill which was voted out of the House Rules Committee on March 1, 2011.
CWA of Georgia applauds the efforts of bill sponsor Rep. Edward Lindsey (R-54th District/Atlanta) to strengthen the human trafficking code in Georgia and for the changes made in the current bill to reflect our concerns from last year regarding decriminalization of prostitution. We are very much in support of the following provisions:
- Increased penalties for persons who traffic minors
- Forfeiture of property of those convicted of trafficking
- Additional funding for law enforcement training and materials
Additionally, we support the affirmative defense provision for the following reasons:
- Requires a person to prove coercion or deception before he/she can be found not guilty of prostitution.
- Maintains law enforcement in the process thereby providing incentive for them to advocate for victim services for their witnesses as those offering an affirmative defense have pimps and traffickers whom the police will seek to arrest and prosecute.
- Allows a person to go before a judge who will be able to assess each individual situation and provide the best course of action for that person.
- Provides a compassionate first step for a truly trafficked person to get out of commercial sexual exploitation and begin to receive the services and care they need for rehabilitation and restoration.
Action Needed: The bill now moves to the Senate Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee. Contact the members of the Senate HHS Committee and ask them to vote in favor of H.B. 200. Click here for a list of committee members and their respective phone numbers and/or e-mail addresses.
March 4, 2011 AOL web opinion article “Why Decriminalize Child Prostitution?” by Janice Shaw Crouse, senior fellow of CWA’s Beverly LaHaye Institute and Penny Young Nance, Chief Executive Officer of CWA.
Children in Prostitution: What to Do? by Brenda Zurita, Research Fellow for the Beverly LaHaye Institute.