The hearing on Amy Volk’s (R-Scarborough) Victims of Sex-Trafficking bill is rescheduled for this Thursday, February 20. Please come and show your support for L.D. 1730 “An Act To Assist Victims of Human Trafficking,” that will be amended summarized as follows:
This amendment replaces the bill and includes four different ways to assist victims of human trafficking.
Part 1 provides an opportunity for victims of human trafficking who have been convicted of prostitution to seek a court order vacating that prostitution conviction. If the person’s participation in the prostitution was the result of the person having been a victim of the conduct of another person that constitutes human trafficking, the person can file a motion in the underlying criminal proceeding seeking that the conviction be vacated. The process is based on the existing Maine law that provides for vacating convictions that involved identity theft.
Part 2 establishes an affirmative defense to the crime of prostitution. The person charged with prostitution may raise the affirmative defense that the person engaged in prostitution because the person was compelled to do so as described in the crime of aggravated sex trafficking in Title 17-A, section 852, subsection 2. “Compelling” includes but is not limited to:
D. Withholding, destroying or confiscating an actual or purported passport or other immigration document or other actual or purported government identification document with the intent to impair a person’s freedom of movement;
E. Requiring prostitution to be performed to retire, repay or service an actual or purported debt; and
F. Using force or engaging in any scheme, plan or pattern to instill in a person a fear that, if the person does not engage or continue to engage in prostitution, the actor or another person will:
(1) Cause physical injury or death to a person;
(2) Cause damage to property, other than property of the actor;
(3) Engage in other conduct constituting a Class A, B or C crime or criminal restraint;
(4) Accuse some person of a crime or cause criminal charges or deportation proceedings to be instituted against some person;
(5) Expose a secret or publicize an asserted fact, regardless of veracity, tending to subject some person, except the actor, to hatred, contempt or ridicule;
(6) Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information regarding another person’s legal claim or defense;
(7) Use a position as a public servant to perform some act related to that person’s official duties or fail or refuse to perform an official duty in a manner that adversely affects some other person; or
(8) Perform any other act that would not in itself materially benefit the actor but that is calculated to harm the person being compelled with respect to that person’s health, safety or immigration status.
Part 3 amends the Victims’ Compensation program laws to cover two additional crimes for which a victim may seek compensation, as well as providing an additional funding source. Part 3 allows a victim of aggravated sex trafficking or sex trafficking to seek compensation from the Victims’ Compensation Fund for medical and other costs. It also assesses $1,000 on any person convicted of aggravated sex trafficking and $250 on any person convicted of sex trafficking.
Part 4 creates an additional factor in the crime of furnishing scheduled drugs that increases the crime by one Class to make furnishing drugs a more serious crime. If the person furnishing the scheduled drugs furnishes the drugs to a person engaging in prostitution, that qualifies as “aggravated furnishing” and is a crime one Class greater than if the person furnished the drugs is not engaging in prostitution.
If you haven’t already done so, please contact your senator and representative requesting support for the bill. Go here: to find your lawmaker. Maine towns are listed alphabetically. Find your town ~ your representative and senator are listed beside the town along with their contact information.
Also call Senate Democrats at 207-287-1515, and Senate Republicans at 207-287-1505, House Democrats at 207-287-1430 and House Republicans at 207-287-1440. Give them the name of the town in which you live, and ask them to send your message requesting support for L.D. 1730 to your lawmaker.
PRAYER: Dear Father, please hear our pleas to help and protect victims of sex-trafficking in our state. May our lawmakers realize the need for this law and pass it with a large bipartisan majority in both houses of our Maine Legislature. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Please make the calls, send the e-mails and attend the rescheduled hearing on Thursday. Thank you!