Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 120

03/07/2005 01:00 PM JUDICIARY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHB 85(JUD) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
Moved CSHB 95(JUD) Out of Committee
HB 148 - TRAFFICKING OF PERSONS                                                                                               
HB 101 - SEX TRAFFICKING AND TOURISM                                                                                          
3:56:22 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR McGUIRE  announced that the  final order of  business would                                                               
be a hearing on two bills:   HOUSE BILL NO. 148, "An Act relating                                                               
to  trafficking of  persons."; and  HOUSE BILL  NO. 101,  "An Act                                                               
relating to sex trafficking and tourism."                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE BETH  KERTTULA, Alaska State  Legislature, sponsor                                                               
of  HB 148,  said that  both  she and  Representative Croft  have                                                               
introduced legislation  relating to human trafficking,  which, at                                                               
its fundamental root, she opined, is  human slavery.  She went on                                                               
to say:                                                                                                                         
     It's a  pretty shocking thing  to realize that  in this                                                                    
     day and  age, we  have slavery, and  it's a  sad truth.                                                                    
     The [U.S.  Department of State] estimates  that between                                                                    
     600,000  to  800,000  men,   women,  and  children  are                                                                    
     trafficked across international  borders each year, and                                                                    
     somewhere  in  the  range  of  20,000  to  100,000  are                                                                    
     brought into the U.S.  We  have the first case that was                                                                    
     prosecuted  under  the  federal  Act  here  in  Alaska:                                                                    
     Ukrainian  women brought  under  the  pretense of  folk                                                                    
     dancing  and then  held at  a home  in Chugiak  and ...                                                                    
     brought into  the Crazy Horse [Saloon]  where they were                                                                    
     forced  to  strip for  money.    And luckily  a  really                                                                    
     astute [Immigration  and Naturalization  Service (INS)]                                                                    
     agent  caught  an ad  in  the  newspaper and  went  and                                                                    
     investigated,  and it  resulted in  the prosecution  of                                                                    
     [three] men  who went to  jail.   So it's a  sad truth.                                                                    
     My husband  was in  Vladivostok last summer,  ... [and]                                                                    
     people  approached him  and said  it was  an increasing                                                                    
     problem, ...  [that of] Russian women  being brought to                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA relayed  that  members' packets  contain                                                               
examples [of human trafficking] and  that experts will be on hand                                                               
to  testify  at the  bills'  next  hearing,  and noted  that  the                                                               
Department  of   Law  (DOL)  has   been  working  with   she  and                                                               
Representative Croft, but it has  not been a completely easy task                                                               
to  come up  with  the  right language.    She  indicated that  a                                                               
proposed change [suggested by the DOL]  to HB 148 has been handed                                                               
out.   In  conclusion,  she opined  that  [human trafficking]  is                                                               
everyone's problem and thus shouldn't  necessarily be left solely                                                               
up to the federal government to address.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE ERIC  CROFT, Alaska State Legislature,  sponsor of                                                               
HB  101, offered  the following  quote from  President George  W.                                                               
Bush's address to the UN General Assembly in September 2003:                                                                    
     There's a  special evil in  the abuse  and exploitation                                                                    
     of the  most innocent and  vulnerable.  The  victims of                                                                    
     sex trade see  little of life before they  see the very                                                                    
     worst of life - an  underground of brutality and lonely                                                                    
     fear.  Those  who create these victims  and profit from                                                                    
     their suffering  must be severely punished.   Those who                                                                    
     patronize  this industry  debase themselves  and deepen                                                                    
     the misery  of others.   And governments  that tolerate                                                                    
     this trade are tolerating a form of slavery.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  CROFT  noted  that  members'  packets  include  a                                                               
federal report  that was  the basis  of federal  legislation, but                                                               
added  that  he agrees  with  Representative  Kerttula that  this                                                               
issue is not something that should  be left solely to the federal                                                               
government  to address,  that there  should be  appropriate state                                                               
laws  in  place as  well.    He  offered his  understanding  that                                                               
Representative Kerttula's legislation  focuses on the importation                                                               
of  people   under  fraudulent  or  threatening   pretenses,  and                                                               
explained  that although  his  legislation  addresses that  issue                                                               
too, it also  - via the latter portion of  Section 1, proposed AS                                                               
11.66.410  -  addresses the  issue  of  organized tours  for  the                                                               
purpose  of   having  sex  with  children   in  other  countries.                                                               
Although  it  is  not  yet   known  how  prevalent  or  how  well                                                               
advertised  this practice  is, it  is  known that  it does  exist                                                               
because  there have  been reports  from  the "subject"  countries                                                               
that say  that people, mainly men,  from industrialized countries                                                               
enter into [the subject] countries  for the purpose of having sex                                                               
with children.                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  indicated that  he has three  issues of                                                               
concern [with the DOL's proposed change].   One, why does it only                                                               
address situations  that involve people  coming into the  state -                                                               
shouldn't  it also  address situations  involving people  who are                                                               
already in the state.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT  indicated that his  bill does not  have the                                                               
transportation element  that the  DOL has expressed  a preference                                                               
for  including, and  surmised that  the issue  will be  addressed                                                               
further at the bills' next hearing.                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG said the second  issue of concern is the                                                               
language  pertaining to  labor in  the state  by a  promise.   He                                                               
offered  his  belief  that such  language  could  interfere  with                                                               
legitimate labor disputes.   The third issue  of concern pertains                                                               
to  the language,  "if  the  person obtains  a  benefit from  the                                                               
commission".  He opined that "benefit" should be defined.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT  suggested to Representative  Gruenberg that                                                               
before the bills' next hearing, he  compare Sections 1 of HB 101,                                                               
HB 148, and the DOL's proposed change.                                                                                          
[HB 148 and HB 101 were held over.]                                                                                             

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