State Rep. Teresa Fedor released the following statement on the passage of Am. Sub. House Bill 262 by a unanimous vote in the House of Representatives.
“I am overwhelmed that this critical legislation has received such broad support. We have a child sexual abuse crime wave in Ohio. The passage of HB 262 today is a huge victory for victims of human trafficking. This is a problem that deserves immediate attention by my colleagues in the Senate. The time to take action is now, we must protect the victims of these heinous acts of human slavery and stop the individuals that are the benefactors of this underground criminal network.
“Am. Sub. H.B. 262 or the Safe Harbor Act, aims to help juvenile victims of human trafficking. This victim-centered legislation follows a three-prong approach of providing protection, prosecution, and prevention. We’re protecting our minors by providing them with services instead of an arrest warrant. We’re aiding in prosecution by creating greater penalties for human trafficking, and providing a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years. We’re preventing continued trafficking by increasing penalties against buyers of commercial sex.
“House Bill 262 not only creates a safe haven for the victims of human trafficking, but also goes after the offenders that profit and engage in this criminal activity. We must ensure that strict laws are in place to deter and punish this type of crime. This bill would not have been possible without the support of key state decision makers and Governor Kasich.”
This important legislation will now move to the Senate for passage.