Governor Steve Beshear, joined by legislators and child protection advocates, today signed House Bill 3, which is designed to increase protections for victims of human trafficking.
The "Human Trafficking Victims Rights Act" is primarily designed to target individuals who exploit children for sexual purposes by increasing penalties and prison sentences. The legislation would also provide training so that victims, advocates and law enforcement officers may better recognize signs of human and child trafficking, allowing them to take action more quickly.
"I'm proud to sign this bill, which will increase protections for victims and strengthen penalties against those who would commit these terrible crimes. This is an important bill, particularly for children, and I congratulate Rep. Sannie Overly for her tireless efforts to pass this legislation," said Gov. Beshear.
"I am proud to have sponsored this critical piece of legislation. The incidence of trafficking children is growing at an alarming pace in Kentucky. I am hopeful this bipartisan effort to strengthen Kentucky's human trafficking laws will stem these terrible crimes," said Rep. Overly, of Paris. "I thank everyone who was a part of this collaborative effort, and for the enormous support of Governor Beshear and my colleagues to pass this legislation to protect children."
The bill also allows police and prosecutors to seize assets of those involved in human trafficking, and earmark the proceeds from those seized assets to pay for victim services. Finally, the bill offers the so-called "safe harbor" protection, which allows human trafficking victims to receive treatment rather than jail time.