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Bill to crack down on human trafficking passes House

Published March 11, 2013 5:16 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The House approved a series of tough new penalties for those who engage in human trafficking or patronize children or others who have been trafficked for commercial purposes.

Rep. Jennifer Seelig, D-Salt Lake City, said nationally as many as 100,000 children are trafficked or sexually exploited each year and said that on a trip with vice officers she saw advertisements offering sex with minors.

"This is a horrific issue and a very important one," Seelig said.

The bill makes it a first-degree felony to traffic a child for forced labor or sexual exploitation. It makes it a second-degree felony to patronize a prostitute who has been a victim of human trafficking and a first-degree felony if it involves a child.

The bill passed the House unanimously and moves to the Senate for consideration. The bill has the backing of the Attorney General's Office.

— Robert Gehrke

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