Legislature(2005 - 2006)
04/22/2005 02:48 PM FIN
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* first hearing in first committee of referral
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= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE BILL NO. 101 An Act relating to sex trafficking and tourism. REPRESENTATIVE CROFT, SPONSOR, pointed out that in his address to the United Nations General Assembly in September 2003, President George W. Bush called the sex trafficking of people "a special kind of evil in the abuse and exploitation of the most innocent and vulnerable." HB 101 attacks that problem at two fundamental economic stages. · It targets those who traffic people for the purposes of forcing them into commercial sex acts; and · It targets the industries that create the demand for the horrible acts by offering "sex tours" and other promises of sex to Alaskan clients. Because much of the illegal sex trafficking and sex tour activity happens overseas, the most direct way for Alaska to help eradicate the black market industry is to limit the demand for such despicable acts. HB 101 addresses those that promote, organize or otherwise market commercial sex tours and travel services by making the activities punishable to the same degree as sex trafficking itself. Representative Croft continued, recent studies by the University of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Department of State on the prevalence of sex trafficking and sex tours both nationally and globally, shows an astounding number of children each year fall victim to this heinous industry. It is important to do our part to end that abuse and exploitation of our world's most vulnerable children. HB 101 would make Alaska part of the solution and not part of the problem. 5:37:43 PM Representative Holm asked if this type activity was happening in the United States. Representative Croft referenced a study from the University of Pennsylvania on commercial and sexual exploitation. It is a growing problem happening around the world. He pointed out that the numbers of occurrences indicates that there is advertising. He wanted to make sure that advertising agencies know they cannot respond to requests for information regarding sex trafficking. 5:40:42 PM In response to comments by Representative Kelly, Representative Croft agreed that advertising is not currently happening in Alaska, but that Alaskans do travel for such purposes. Representative Kelly remembered sexual practices during the height of the pipeline construction and questioned if the legislation could address issues now with the gas line coming forth. 5:42:26 PM Representative Croft stated the legislation addresses the advertisement of prostitution. Representative Hawker asked how the legislation would affect out-of-state Internet advertising, and if the bill would hold harmless the infrastructure providers. Representative Croft explained that the House Judiciary Committee inserted the phrase "for the purpose of". 5:45:35 PM Representative Croft noted that the infrastructure of he Internet is not liable for pornography sites. In response to a question by Vice-Chair Stoltze, Representative Croft explained that it would prohibit a flyer advertising activities where prostitution was legal. Since it is illegal in Alaska, it should be illegal to advertise in Alaska. 5:48:30 PM Representative Hawker asked if there could be interstate commerce concerns. Representative Croft concluded that it would be criminal conduct in Alaska. He acknowledged that there could be legal challenges, but emphasized that the State's actions should not be held to the lowest moral calendar. He maintained that it is not clearly or even likely to be unconstitutional and felt that a constitutional case would be won by the State. 5:50:56 PM Representative Croft stressed that the use of younger persons are the worst cases. He noted that there has been discussion on penalty levels and felt it should be classified as a Class C felony. Vice-Chair Stoltze asked if there could be a higher threshold for those acts directed toward children. 5:53:35 PM Representative Holm spoke in support of the legislation. He noted that Americans are traveling to other countries for these purposes, but there is no indication that the practices are occurring stateside. He questioned how Alaskan law could affect situations here. Representative Croft explained that the viewer would not be selling the service. The individual would have to be providing a service. Representative Croft observed that prostitution does occur in America, noting concerns with child pornography. 5:58:43 PM In response to a question by Vice-Chair Stoltze, Representative Croft referred to brothel tours and how they would be covered through the proposed legislation. Traveling for commercial sex acts would be included. Vice-Chair Stoltze MOVED to REPORT CSHB 101 (JUD) out of Committee with individual recommendations and with the accompanying fiscal notes. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. CS HB 101 (JUD) was reported out of Committee with a "do pass" recommendation and with zero note #1 by the Department of Administration, zero note #2 by the Department of Corrections, zero note #3 by the Alaska Court System, zero note #4 by the Department of Law and zero note #5 by the Department of Public Safety.