On Monday night, the Pennsylvania Senate concurred in House amendments to SB 75, legislation introduced by State Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf (R, Montgomery, Bucks) to combat human trafficking in Pennsylvania. The legislation will now be sent to the Governor to be signed into law.
SB 75 will provide Pennsylvania’s prosecutors with a more accurate definition of human trafficking that would lead to more successful convictions, and enhance punishments for traffickers.
SB 75 addresses the weaknesses in the state’s current law that often allows traffickers to be charged with lesser crimes. The outdated statutory definition of human trafficking does not include sexual servitude. SB 75 redefines trafficking to aid prosecutors and provides increased criminal penalties for those convicted of human trafficking.
“SB 75 is the result of an ongoing state-wide movement to combat sex and labor trafficking in Pennsylvania,” said Senator Greenleaf. “This legislation takes aim at one of the most tragic and destructive crimes in modern history that is being committed on a large scale in Pennsylvania and around the world. The final passage of this legislation is long awaited, and I would like to thank the many advocates who have worked very hard to raise awareness and generate support for this legislation. Also, I would like to thank my colleagues in the House and Senate for recognizing the urgency of this issue and unanimously passing SB 75.”
Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world generating over $32 billion annually. It is estimated that over 20 million people are currently being trafficked world-wide. In the US, it is estimated that over 100,000 children are in the sex trade. The total number of men, women, and children being trafficked in U.S. could reach into the hundreds of thousands.
In Pennsylvania, human trafficking is taking place in both urban and suburban communities, and victims are commonly transported along the state’s interstate highway system.