Human trafficking bill advances to Indiana Senate

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INDIANAPOLIS (WEHT) – The Indiana House of Representatives recently passed State Rep. Wendy McNamara’s (R-Evansville) legislation, which would help combat human trafficking and expand protections for young Hoosier victims.

Current law requires Hoosiers 15-years-old or older at the time of a trial to testify in court. McNamara’s proposal would allow survivors 14-years-old or younger at the time of their assault to submit a video statement for court procedures if they are younger than 18 at the time of the trial.

Additionally, the legislation would also increase sentencing for perpetrators whose victims are under the age of 18 and require local organizations or agencies to report investigations of human trafficking to the Indiana Attorney General’s office, according to McNamara.

Currently, people who offer to or pay for sex acts can only be prosecuted with a Level 5 felony if they pay the trafficker directly. According to law enforcement, it is difficult to prosecute suspects as the majority of transactions occur between the perpetrator and the victim. Under McNamara’s proposal, a person could be convicted of the felony regardless of whether they pay the victim or the trafficker directly. House Bill 1200 now moves to the Indiana Senate for consideration.

(This story was originally published on February 23, 2021)

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