HARRISBURG – The Senate passed legislation this week that will combat human trafficking by enacting stronger penalties against individuals who support the exploitation of victims, according State Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33), who supported the bill.
Senate Bill 60 would increase penalties against any individual who patronizes a victim of human trafficking, including anyone that recruits, solicits, advertises, transports, or profits off a human trafficking victim. Tougher penalties are also levied for offenses committed against minors.
“I am a believer that Pennsylvania should be a national leader on important issues, and this measure is a step in that direction,” said Mastriano. “The legislature sent a message by standing with victims of human trafficking.”
The bill, titled the “Buyer Beware Act,” builds upon recent reforms by the General Assembly to increase penalties and awareness of human trafficking crimes in Pennsylvania.
Under the bill, the most serious offenders who directly participate in the trafficking of minors for prostitution and related crimes could face imprisonment of 40 years or more. Fines and penalties against offenders who solicit the services of human trafficking victims would also see significant increases, including fines of up to $50,000 for repeat offenders.
All fines collected under the bill would be deposited into special funds to prevent human trafficking and support sexually exploited children.
The bill was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
CONTACT: Scot Pitzer (717) 787-4651, firstname.lastname@example.org.