On July 1, Governor Sununu signed into law House Bill 189, which protects juvenile victims of sex trafficking. The law will go into effect on January 1. It protects trafficked children from facing criminal charges for nonviolent offenses directly arising from their being trafficked.
HB 189, exempting child trafficking victims from criminal penalties, is a wonderful step in the right direction towards creating policy that eliminates human trafficking and the exploitation of people in New Hampshire. Cornerstone Action was part of a broad coalition of Granite Staters who supported the bill. The bill’s seven co-sponsors were led by Rep. Linda Massimilla (D-Littleton) and Rep. Latha Mangipudi (D-Nashua).
“Protecting human dignity begins with protecting children,” said Cornerstone Executive Director Shannon McGinley after the bill was signed. “It was an honor for Cornerstone to add its voice to those of other advocates for HB 189. We thank Rep. Massimilla and her colleagues for sponsoring this protective legislation. We will continue to support passage of legislation that honors the dignity of every human life.”
At the signing ceremony, Governor Chris Sununu praised the bill’s sponsors. “Even when the economy’s good in our small world, (trafficking) is here, and it’s something we take really seriously in this state. HB 189 really is a huge step forward.”
Rep. Massimilla noted that in 2015, an organization that looks at state-by-state legislation on eradicating sexual exploitation gave New Hampshire a D-minus, “which was a 62% rating for our policies and for our help with victims of trafficking….We have come a long way. I’m proud to say that in 2018, New Hampshire got a rating of a B-minus. But that’s not good enough. I’m working to move that rating to an A-plus. So we have a lot of work to do. With all of us together here in the room, and the people that work behind the scenes, we can make that happen so that everyone in the state and people across the country know that New Hampshire is never open for business when it comes to child exploitation and trafficking.”
Thank you to Governor Sununu, our legislators, and partners for taking this important step to end sexual exploitation in New Hampshire!