“This [bill] is not about the johns. This is about the kids.” – Rep. Jody McNally
THURSDAY, February 7th
The House Criminal Justice & Public Safety Committee voted 12-7 this morning to retain HB 201-FN, relative to enhancing penalties for sex buyers exploiting trafficked children. Retaining the bill means it will not go to the House floor, and that the committee will make a recommendation to the House at a later date, possibly next year.
By retaining the bill, the committee has refused to take immediate action to attack the demand side of sexual exploitation. The representatives voting to retain this bill have put the interests of traffickers ahead of the interests of children, even if that was not their intention. They have a chance to change their minds, but in the meantime, children have been shunted aside.
As a reminder, House Bill 201, introduced by Rep. Linda Massimilla (D-Littleton), would increase the criminal penalty for anyone buying sex from a trafficked minor. As introduced, the bill would have been an important step forward. Unfortunately, lobbyists for the sex industry suggested amending the bill in a manner that would undermine its purpose of protecting children. Cornerstone supported the bill and asked committee members to vote “ought to pass” on HB 201as introduced and oppose any amendments.
Cornerstone will continue to stand up for those who are being sexually exploited, especially children. Human Trafficking is a blight on our society, and we will not cease fighting until it has been eradicated.