Penelope A. Morrell, Director
Concerned Women for America of Maine
To Members of the Joint Judiciary Committee
Regarding L.D. 1730, “An Act To Assist Victims of Human Trafficking.”
February 13, 2014
Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today.
Concerned Women for America (CWA) is the largest public policy women’s organization in the nation with more than 500,000 members. Maine currently enjoys 2,800 members.
Concerned Women for America of Maine (CWA of Maine) supports L.D. 1730, “An Act To Assist Victims of Human Trafficking.”
Concerned Women for America through its Board of Trustees has established Sexual Exploitation as one of its seven core issues on which we focus our efforts.
CWA of Maine is concerned about:
1. The ever-increasing prevalence of pornography, prostitution and sex slavery and the ways that those forms of commercial sexual exploitation feed off of each other to form a multi-billion dollar industry that exploits thousands of girls and women in this country and millions around the world.
2. The morally deteriorating influence of the entertainment industry and leftist opinion leaders who have created a cultural climate detrimental to children and women’s well-being. At one end of the continuum is a demise of romance and dating, in the middle is a dramatic increase in violence, exploitation and assaults, and at the other end is sex slavery in the forms of prostitution and sex trafficking.
3. The lack of enforcement of existing laws, the lack of cooperation from agencies and law enforcement that should be protecting vulnerable girls and women.
CWA of Maine is working to see:
1. An increased awareness that the demand for pornography and prostitutes drives both the pornography and sex trafficking industries; to educate the public about the harms to children, women and men from pornography and prostitution and the prevalence of sex slavery even here in the United States.
2. Continued advocacy for higher moral standards in the American entertainment industry. Young women educated about their vulnerabilities as well as their potential for influence on cultural mores. Efforts made at the forefront of anti-trafficking efforts to establish sound policies that will “end demand” and protect vulnerable girls and women.
3. Continued lobbying for legislation without loopholes in order to increase prosecutions against exploiters and mandate consistent strict enforcement of laws regarding pornography, prostitution and sexual slavery.
Therefore, we support Rep. Amy Volk’s bill to create a defense for a person charged with engaging in prostitution against her will and a pathway for vacating her conviction. We know that sex-trafficking in Maine is a real problem, especially up and down the I-95 corridor.
We urge this committee to support L.D. 1730.