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State Senator

Mae Flexer

Representing Brooklyn, Canterbury, Killingly, Mansfield, Putnam, Scotland, Thompson & Windham

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Senate Passes Bipartisan Bill to Combat Human Trafficking

The Connecticut Senate today passed a bill to combat human trafficking in Connecticut through increased penalties, training and awareness.

HB 7309, An Act Concerning Human Trafficking, aims to prevent sex trafficking by adding members to the state’s Trafficking in Persons Council, increasing penalties for sex trafficking, and providing greater education to state agencies.

“This legislation makes it crystal clear to perpetrators that we take the crime of human trafficking extremely seriously in our state, and those who perpetrate it will face the same punishment in our courts as they would at the federal level,” said Senator Mae Flexer (D-Danielson). “Victims of human trafficking face a lifetime of recovery from the trauma of the abuse they suffer at the hands of traffickers, and it is only right that the criminals who inflict that trauma face stiff penalties. Those caught trafficking people in Connecticut should and will be charged with a class A felony and face up to 25 years in prison. Additionally, we have taken a strong stand by changing the penalty for patronizing a minor who is being sold for sex to a class A felony. We will not tolerate this type of abuse, and I am proud that this bill passed with unanimous, bipartisan support.”

The bill would:

  • Expand the membership of the state’s Trafficking in Persons Council, including adding an individual who has been a victim of sex trafficking.
  • Increase the penalty for trafficking in persons from a class B to a class A felony, punishable by up to 25 years in prison in line with federal statute, and broaden the definition of “sex trafficking”.
  • Create a new crime, “commercial sex abuse of a minor,” which would be a class B felony, and a Class A felony if the minor is under 15 years of age. Patronizing a minor is currently a class C felony.
  • Require an increased number of businesses to post signage with the Trafficking in Persons Council hotline number.
  • Provide and require training for state public safety, legal, and health care employees, and public school employees for identifying and reporting human trafficking.

The bill passed on a unanimous and bipartisan basis in the House of Representatives on May 17 and in the Senate Friday morning. It goes next to the desk of Governor Dannel P. Malloy for his signature.

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