The Juvenile Justice Fund’s A Future. Not A Past. effort has a new tool in its ongoing campaign to “disable the demand for child sexual exploitation” in Georgia. The Outdoor Advertising Association of Georgia has agreed to donate space to the Atlanta-based non-profit victim’s advocacy group to run billboard ads throughout metro Atlanta. Unlike previous efforts by other organizations focused on raising awareness among victims, these ads are unique in that they will target the demand side – specifically the pimps and johns who partake in child prostitution.
In less than two months, on July 1, a human trafficking law that toughens the penalty for sex traffickers and seeks to improve outcomes for victims will officially become law in Georgia. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed HB 200 into law earlier this month. Advocates are praising the measure for many of its key provisions, including that it treats those in sexual servitude as victims; not criminals, allows victims to provide “an affirmative defense” when coming forward and for penalties that allow the state to seize any real or personal property used or purchased by a convicted trafficker. The fact that law enforcement agencies will also receive training on ways to identify and interact with human trafficking victims is also being touted as important progress. Here’s what Renee Kempton, the Atlanta Ambassador for the national non-profit Stop Child Trafficking Now (SCTN) had to say about the measure.
The human trafficking bill that toughens the penalty for sex traffickers and seeks to improve outcomes for victims has been officially signed into Georgia law.
A small crowd of supporters gathered around Governor Nathan Deal Tuesday afternoon as he signed HB 200 at My Sister’s House in the Atlanta Mission. The legislation was introduced this year by Rep. Ed Lindsey (R-Atlanta) and passed within the same legislative session, which wrapped up last month.
The governor and his wife, First Lady Sandra Deal, shared encouraging words to the families of trafficking survivors during the signing event. Both commended child advocates for remaining vigilant in their work to eradicate child sex trafficking.
A bill that toughens laws against sex trafficking was voted out of a Georgia State Senate committee this morning, despite calls by conservative activist to add an amendment. HB 200 now moves to the Senate Rules Committee before heading on to the Senate floor for a vote. Sue Ella Deadwyler, the author of the Georgia Insight newsletter, who claims to have been “called by God,” wanted to change language that provides an affirmative defense for victims of sex trafficking under the age of 18. Proponents of the measure say the language concerning affirmative defense defines minors as victims of the sex trafficking industry, rather than criminals that participate in it. But Deadwyler disagreed, arguing that the bill legalizes child prostitution. She wants to reduce the age that children are prosecuted from 18 to 13, otherwise Georgia will become “a haven for male and female participants in various sexually explicit professions, including prostitution, masturbation for hire and pornography,” according to her website, GeorgiaInsight.org. At a press conference in February, 2010, Deadwyler said, “Sure there are those who are forced into prostitution, but I think most of them volunteer .
Today is Crossover Day — the critical mid-point in the legislative session, when Senate bills move over to the House and House bills transition to the Senate. Any House bills that have not passed their chamber of origin will not progress in 2011. Because this is the first year of the two-year legislative cycle, any bills that fail to cross over may still be considered in 2012. Here’s an update on some of the legislation pertaining to young people in Georgia and juvenile justice issues that JJIE.org has been following. Senate Bills
SB 31 would expand attorney-client privilege to cover parents’ participation in private conversations with defense attorneys representing their children in delinquent or criminal cases. The bill introduced in January by Sen. Jason Carter (D-Decatur) gives the child – not the parent – exclusive rights to waive the privilege. This measure passed the Senate on February 23 and now awaits consideration by the House Civil Judiciary Committee. Introduced last month by Sen. Joshua McKoon (R-Columbus), SB 80 would require any person, including a juvenile arrested for a felony offense, to give a DNA sample. It would be analyzed and kept in a database by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Since the Georgia House of Representatives passed the human trafficking bill HB 200, (which includes stronger penalties for the prostituting of children) I asked Kaffie McCullough, founder of JJF’s A Future. Not A Past. (AFNAP) for her thoughts. Kaffie, how does this bill differ from Bill 304 which you worked on a year ago? “It does some of those same things, and it’s a step forward, but it’s not as far as ultimately we’d like to go.
A bill cracking down on human trafficking has passed the Georgia House of Representatives and will now move to the Senate for approval. The legislation, HB 200, increases penalties for those guilty of human trafficking, especially if the victims are less than 16 years old. Further provisions are made for victims who have suffered as a result of forced prostitution.
A human trafficking bill that toughens the penalty for sex traffickers and improves outcomes for victims has cleared another hurdle. The Ramsey Subcommittee of the House Non-Civil Judiciary Committee pushed HB 200 forward for further consideration Thursday, after a lively hearing on the measure the day before. The bill’s sponsor House Whip Edward Lindsey (R-Atlanta) opened the brief meeting – a follow up to yesterday’s considerably longer one – by highlighting some slight wording changes sub-committee members had suggested. “I think we took a good bill and made it even better,” Rep. Lindsey told sub-committee members, of the measure that includes charging those who traffic children under the age of 16 with aggravated felony. With little discussion, the subcommittee unanimously approved the motion raised by House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D-DeKalb) to push it through for consideration by the full committee.