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Delaware Senate Democrats

Senate passes bill to protect child human trafficking victims from prosecution

May 7, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | May 7, 2019
Delaware State Senate Majority Caucus
Contact: Scott Goss (302) 744-4180, or
Dylan McDowell (302) 744-4282

DOVER – The Delaware State Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved legislation that would protect child victims of human trafficking from being prosecuted as criminals.

Sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Nicole Poore, D-New Castle, Senate Bill 60 specifically states that no one younger than 18 can be convicted of prostitution under Delaware law.

“The adults who broker and pay for these unspeakable acts are the criminals here, not the children they are exploiting,” Poore said. “Those children are victims and we should be focusing our resources on providing them with counseling and intervention rather than prison sentences and criminal records.”

Prosecuting children and teens for prostitution is rare in Delaware. SB 60 would codify that current standard and ensure victims are protected in the future.

The legislation is part of a two-bill package aimed at helping the victims of human trafficking rebuild their lives.

House Bill 102 would provide a path to a clean slate for adult human trafficking victims who were forced into criminal activity. Sponsored by Rep. Kim Williams, D-Newport, that legislation would allow anyone arrested or convicted of a crime directly connected to them being a victim of human trafficking to seek a pardon, an expungement or a motion to vacate a judgement. Violent felonies would not qualify.

HB102 passed the House unanimously in April and is slated for a hearing before the Senate Judicial Committee on Wednesday. SB60 now heads to the House Judiciary Committee.

Both measures are backed by Delaware Human Trafficking Interagency Coordinating Council.

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