To the Senate Judiciary Committee
In Support of SB 2107
Relating to the Uniform Act on Prevention of and Remedies for Human Trafficking; relating to definitions; relating to human trafficking; and to provide a penalty.
January 28, 2015
Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, my name is Linda Thorson. I am the Interim State Director for Concerned Women for America (CWA) of North Dakota. CWA is the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization. We are here today on behalf of our North Dakota members in support of SB 2107, relating to the Uniform Act on Prevention of and Remedies for Human Trafficking.
Sexual exploitation is one of CWA’s seven core issues on which we focus our efforts. We are concerned about the ever-increasing prevalence of pornography, prostitution and sex slavery. CWA is aware of the ways in which these different forms of commercial sexual exploitation feed off of each other to create a multi-billion dollar industry that exploits thousands of girls and women.
Members of CWA of ND are concerned about the cultural climate that is detrimental to the well-being of both women and children. We advocate for sound policies that will “end demand” and protect those who are most vulnerable. We believe it is important to increase prosecutions against exploiters and mandate consistent, strict enforcement of laws regarding pornography, prostitution and sexual slavery.
Those who are under the domination of a trafficker or pimp are often victimized through coercion and then forced into commercial sexual activity. Steven Watson, who was the Director of the Health and Human Services Center’s Human Trafficking Program, from 2003-2006 made this statement:
“The average age of entry into sex exploitation is about 14. The average life expectancy of someone in commercial sexual exploitation is seven years… [t]hemortality rate for someone in commercial sexual exploitation is 40 times higher than for a non-exploited person of the same age.”1
Furthermore, if a female victim becomes pregnant, traffickers and pimps will not allow the victim to provide informed consent to an abortion. She has no voice in the decision due to the fact that the service of abortion is a benefit to the trafficker.
SB 2107 would help victims by penalizing predators and dangerous individuals who use the threat of force, abduction, serious harm, or physical restraint on an individual.
The bill will help identify women and children who are victims of sexual predators or human trafficking and will stop providing perpetrators with opportunities to cover up and continue their crimes.
CWA of North Dakota and its members are committed to common-sense protections for life. Penalizing human traffickers and protecting the lives of those coerced into sexual exploitation will help victims of sex trafficking to receive care and compassion that is equal to their immeasurable dignity and worth. We urge the members of the committee to pass SB 2107.
1 Wagner, Steven, Kathleen Sebelious’ Gruesome Moral Calculus”, National Catholic Register, 1/29/11, http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/kathleen-sebelius-gruesome-moral-calculus