Today, Governor Bobby Jindal signed two bills into law that will help guard against human trafficking across Louisiana by strengthening protections for victims and enhancing penalties for wrongdoers.
Governor Jindal said, "We must always do everything in our power to help protect our most vulnerable and those who cannot protect themselves. Human trafficking is a horrendous crime that often targets children, and these bills will go a long way toward combating individuals who are exploiting others by taking advantage of their innocence."
HB 126--authored by Representative Valerie Hodges--strengthens enforcement of current law that requires certain establishments to post the National Human Trafficking Hotline number.
In addition, this bill adds penalties for the failure to post the hotline number and allocates the authority to promulgate rules regarding posting specifics to the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC).
SB 88--authored by Senator Sharon Broome--helps treat sexually exploited children who may have been human trafficked by allowing for pre-adjudication diversion programs for juveniles alleged to have engaged in prostitution related offenses.
This bill also takes additional steps to protect victims of human trafficking by creating a civil cause of action for victims, making victim restitution mandatory and establishing victim assistance guidelines for law enforcement, District Attorneys and the Attorney General's office.