Statement on Passage of HB 3 (Human Trafficking) in Senate

Marylee Underwood, staff attorney, Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs

Today’s vote of HB 3 by the Kentucky Senate represents a fine example of our elected leaders working across party lines in the best interest of our vulnerable youth. Human trafficking legislation is now just a few steps away from becoming law.

HB 3 ensures that child victims of human trafficking receive the services they need, rather than being detained or prosecuted. Not only does this help heal their trauma and avoid a life of continued victimization, it saves the state money as detention is costly. The legislation also increases financial penalties for those convicted of human trafficking and creates a new “Human Trafficking Victims Fund” to redistribute the ill-gotten gains of convicted traffickers for victims’ services, law enforcement, and prosecution. First responders, including law enforcement and prosecutors, will receive training on trafficking to be able to better identify victims and know where to take them for assistance.

This legislation will dramatically improve identification of and treatment of victims, ensuring that these most vulnerable children receive the trauma-informed response they need to heal. We applaud and thank all Senators who supported this importance piece of legislation and now ask the House to quickly adopt the changes added to HB 3 in the Senate so it can be delivered to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

Tara Grieshop, chief policy officer, Kentucky Youth Advocates

Today’s passage of HB 3 by the Kentucky Senate is a critical action to address the important issue of human trafficking. With time running out in the legislative session, we thank the Senate for making human trafficking legislation a priority. We know that raised awareness about the problem of human trafficking means more victims can be found and helped, and this bill will do just that. We applaud Representatives Overly and Wuchner for leading the effort on this legislation and for all Senators who stepped up and showed their support for the bill today. We ask for the bill to now quickly move through the rest of the legislative process to ensure it becomes law this year.