Mississippi House passes human trafficking bill

In a bipartisan move, the Mississippi House of Representatives passed House Bill 571 which strengthens the state’s human trafficking laws. The bill passed by a vote of 115-1.

Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal industries with 100,000 to 300,000 children prostituted each year. However, the Mississippi House of Representatives took a step in the right direction with House Bill 571. Advocates for Freedom CEO/Founder Susie Harvill said, “The more any of us talk about human trafficking, the more that we work toward finding solutions and doing it as a team, the better we are.”

The House proposal outlines providing blanket immunity to minors, developing required pathways to specialized services for youth survivors of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, requiring specialized training to law enforcement to recognize, identify, respond to and support victims of human trafficking and child prostitution. “It is going to make some mandatory reporting and mandatory changes and it really obligates a lot on our child protective services,” said Harvill.

The bill also clarifies a child under the age of 18 cannot be charged with the crime of prostitution. They would be taken into protective custody. Harvill tells News 25 if trafficked kids have to move in with other foster children, it is pivotal to make sure those in charge know how to cater to their needs. “I’m sure that the foster care will think through, get trained, and will know the situation that they have and are facing to help these children. They are so special. We can’t lose these kids.”

Categories: Featured, Mississippi State News, News

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