Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205

01/25/2006 08:30 AM JUDICIARY

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                       HB 101-SEX TOURISM                                                                                   
                 HB 148-TRAFFICKING OF PERSONS                                                                              
9:16:55 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS asked Representative Croft to introduce HB 101.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE ERIC CROFT, bill  sponsor, introduced the bill and                                                               
began with a description of  the problem currently facing Alaska.                                                               
He cited  part of  a speech  by President George  W. Bush  to the                                                               
United  Nations  in  September of  2003  regarding  young  people                                                               
trapped  in sex  trafficking commerce.  "Those people  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." The  Protect Act,                                                               
signed  into law  in 2003,  makes it  a crime  for any  person to                                                               
enter the United  States or for any citizen to  travel abroad for                                                               
the purpose of sex tourism  involving children. The Department of                                                               
Justice is actively investigating  sex tour operators and patrons                                                               
who  can face  up to  30 years  in prison  under the  Trafficking                                                               
Victims Protection Act.                                                                                                         
9:20:27 AM                                                                                                                    
The  first and  most  important  step was  the  federal law  that                                                               
President Bush  referred to that makes  it a crime to  travel for                                                               
purposes of  having sex with  a child. Representative  Croft said                                                               
states  must also  act.  Alaska  has a  special  exposure to  sex                                                               
tourism due to  its vicinity of the Pacific Rim.  Hawaii passed a                                                               
law  similar  to  HB  101  making it  illegal  to  advertise  sex                                                               
tourism. The Hawaii  Legislature found that the  sex industry has                                                               
expanded  in the  past decade  and involves  the exploitation  of                                                               
persons,  particularly women  and children.  Under their  new law                                                               
they  were able  to prosecute  and  withdraw the  license from  a                                                               
Honolulu travel agency that had  placed explicit advertisement on                                                               
the  web  for  the  ultimate  Asian  sex  tour  of  Thailand.  He                                                               
recognized broad support from the religious community.                                                                          
9:23:10 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  CROFT explained  the original  bill had  both the                                                               
advertising  of   tourism  element  and  the   human  trafficking                                                               
element.  After  Representative  Kerttula introduced  HB  148  he                                                               
dropped the trafficking  element from HB 101. Late  last year the                                                               
Department  of Law  (DOL) submitted  a proposed  substitute. Both                                                               
establish a class C felony for  the conduct. He stated the reason                                                               
he did  not adopt the DOL  suggestion was because it  was offered                                                               
so late  in the  previous session.  He also  wanted to  make sure                                                               
that the bill was not too narrow.                                                                                               
9:26:43 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS asked whether the  DOL's "draft A" was a substitute                                                               
for the entire language of the bill.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT said yes.                                                                                                  
CHAIR  SEEKINS asked  Representative Croft  whether he  supported                                                               
draft A or wanted to retain his original bill.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT  said he would  prefer to put it  before the                                                               
Senate  Standing  Judiciary  Committee  to  adopt  the  preferred                                                               
CHAIR  SEEKINS  noted  Ms.  Anne   Carpeneti's  flight  was  late                                                               
arriving and he could not verify  whether she would make it in to                                                               
comment on behalf of the DOL.                                                                                                   
SENATOR  HUGGINS  asked  Representative   Croft  to  explain  the                                                               
magnitude of difficulties with the issue in Spenard.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT said it was  significant during the pipeline                                                               
days  and  is better  now,  but  the  bill  deals with  a  global                                                               
problem. HB 101 deals with  people who advertise the conduct that                                                               
allows people  to fly oversees  for commercial sex. HB  148 would                                                               
deal with people who traffic persons into the state.                                                                            
9:31:05 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS commented  on the maturation of  the sex industry                                                               
in Thailand.                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GUESS   asked  Representative   Croft  to   explain  the                                                               
difference  in dealing  with Alaska  companies  who advertise  in                                                               
Alaska and companies from other states that advertise in Alaska.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT  said Alaska law could  establish how Alaska                                                               
businesses operate but  it is difficult to try  and regulate what                                                               
is on the Internet.                                                                                                             
SENATOR GUESS  asked whether a Nebraska  business could advertise                                                               
in Alaska and whether an  Alaska business could advertise outside                                                               
of the state.                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT did not know.                                                                                              
9:35:42 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GUESS noted  a  business  could get  around  the law  by                                                               
SENATOR FRENCH guessed it would be  up to the process of the law.                                                               
An Alaska  judge could issue a  warrant for the crime  of selling                                                               
or advertising  in the state. If  the person lives in  Alaska and                                                               
commits the  crime somewhere  else then it  would be  a different                                                               
SENATOR  HUGGINS  asked  Representative Croft  whether  the  bill                                                               
addresses floating vessels.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE   CROFT  said   the   Legislature  had   clarified                                                               
jurisdiction in territorial waters  for crimes committed there. A                                                               
brochure  on a  cruise  ship  inside of  three  miles would  fall                                                               
within Alaska jurisdiction.                                                                                                     
9:39:03 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked for a current  example of an act  that would                                                               
break the proposed law.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  CROFT did  not  have  one. He  said  there are  a                                                               
significant amount of  Alaska citizens who travel  out of country                                                               
to engage in  the business. Identifying exactly who or  how it is                                                               
advertised  is  difficult  because  it is  an  underground  deal.                                                               
Looking at  the supply side  gives a person  an idea of  how many                                                               
people support the industry.                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS  noted that Mr.  Chip Wagoner signed up  to testify                                                               
on both  HB 101  and HB  148. He  asked Mr.  Wagoner to  hold his                                                               
testimony until HB 148 was introduced.                                                                                          
CHAIR SEEKINS asked Representative Kerttula to introduce HB 148.                                                                
9:41:06 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BETH  KERTTULA, bill  sponsor, introduced  HB 148.                                                               
She reiterated  earlier comments  from Representative  Eric Croft                                                               
saying that human trafficking is  a horrendous crime and a modern                                                               
form of  slavery and also a  global problem as well  as an Alaska                                                               
problem.  President George  W. Bush  and  the federal  government                                                               
have encouraged  the states to  enact legislation to  address the                                                               
crime. The bill was crafted with  the Department of Law (DOL). It                                                               
addresses the specific crime of  bringing women and children into                                                               
the state and forcing them into forced labor or sexual activity.                                                                
9:44:15 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  CHIP  WAGONER,  Executive  Director,  Alaska  Conference  of                                                               
Catholic Bishops,  testified on both HB  101 and HB 148.  He said                                                               
both bills are very short in  length but contain a huge principal                                                               
of  Catholic social  doctrine.  The principal  is  that each  and                                                               
every  person  has human  dignity  deserving  of recognition  and                                                               
reverence.  Sadly this  is  not  the case.  Half  of the  world's                                                               
population lives on  less than $2 a day. One  billion people live                                                               
in urban  slums and 30 million  people die yearly due  to hunger.                                                               
People in  desperate states are  vulnerable and subject  to prey.                                                               
The  most recent  report from  the  Vatican noted  more than  800                                                               
million children  around the world  are victims  of malnutrition,                                                               
disease, trafficking, and other  forms of exploitation. More than                                                               
50  million  children  are  born  every year  who  are  not  even                                                               
registered, leaving  them open to  a lifetime of  exploitation as                                                               
their existence is  unknown even by their  own governments. Human                                                               
trafficking involves  more than a  million children each  year in                                                               
what   has  become   a  $1.2   billion  dollar   business.  Human                                                               
trafficking  has  been  noted  as  the  second  largest  criminal                                                               
activity in the world today and the fastest growing.                                                                            
9:48:02 AM                                                                                                                    
While human trafficking is a worldwide  issue, it is a problem in                                                               
this  country as  well.  The United  States  Department of  State                                                               
estimates  that  18-20,000  victims   are  trafficked  across  US                                                               
borders each year.  The Center for Women  Policy Studies believes                                                               
the number is  closer to 100,000. The  Alaska Catholic Conference                                                               
supports both  HB 101 and  HB 148. More  can be done  though. For                                                               
example California  recently passed a comprehensive  28-page bill                                                               
that  enables a  victim of  human  trafficking to  bring a  civil                                                               
action  for  actual  damages.   Connecticut  recently  adopted  a                                                               
statute   that  created   an  interagency   task  force   on  the                                                               
trafficking  of persons.  He said  victims  should be  encouraged                                                               
victims to come  forward without fear of deportation.  There is a                                                               
vast difference  between illegal  immigration and people  who are                                                               
brought to  the US against  their will or  on the basis  of false                                                               
9:50:08 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS asked for discussion among members.                                                                               
SENATOR GUESS  asked Representative  Kerttula to give  an example                                                               
of human trafficking in the second degree.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA  explained there are different  states of                                                               
mind  in   criminal  law.   There  are   intentional,  negligent,                                                               
reckless, and knowingly. HB 148  seeks to separate the punishment                                                               
accordingly. A  strip club owner  who saw  what was going  on and                                                               
chose to  ignore it would  be second level  or reckless. It  is a                                                               
lesser  crime  with lesser  punishment  but  the behavior  should                                                               
still be criminalized.                                                                                                          
SENATOR  GUESS  asked  whether  something  could  be  done  about                                                               
deportation at the state level.                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE   KERTTULA   said   the  federal   government   is                                                               
addressing  that.   The  next  stage  in   development  in  anti-                                                               
trafficking on the federal level  has included special visas that                                                               
women who  are victims  of trafficking can  apply for.  The first                                                               
step is to criminalize trafficking on  a state level and the next                                                               
step  would be  to  develop a  task force  or  do something  with                                                               
social services. Anchorage  has a federal grant to be  able to do                                                               
work on the issue.                                                                                                              
9:55:03 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GUESS advised  the members that the  effective date would                                                               
need to  be changed on page  2. She asked members  to consider an                                                               
immediate effective date.                                                                                                       
CHAIR SEEKINS announced a brief recess at 9:55:51 AM.                                                                         
10:02:51 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.   ANNE  CARPENETI,   Assistant  Attorney   General,  criminal                                                               
division, Department of Law (DOL) introduced herself.                                                                           
CHAIR  SEEKINS  advised  Ms. Carpeneti  that  the  committee  was                                                               
looking at both HB 101 and HB 148  at the moment. He asked her to                                                               
look at HB  101 and advise the committee of  the rationale behind                                                               
DOL's Draft A.                                                                                                                  
MS.  CARPENETI advised  it is  tighter and  narrower. The  DOL is                                                               
concerned  that  promoting  travel  for the  purpose  of  another                                                               
person engaging in acts of  prostitution might cover activity the                                                               
DOL would  not be looking  to cover, such  as the cab  driver who                                                               
takes a person  to a place where the driver  knows commercial sex                                                               
might be available.                                                                                                             
10:06:10 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  CROFT said  on reflection,  he  would prefer  the                                                               
Draft A  version submitted by  the DOL. It  is not the  intent of                                                               
the bill to include an airline or a taxicab company.                                                                            
CHAIR  SEEKINS asked  the penalty  for promoting  prostitution in                                                               
the second degree as compared to promoting sex tourism.                                                                         
10:09:04 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. CARPENETI advised both penalties are a class C felony.                                                                      
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked whether  there is a  reason to  separate the                                                               
crimes versus utilizing the existing statute.                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT said  the enticement language in  Draft A is                                                               
cleaner and,  all things being equal  it makes more sense  to put                                                               
it within the existing statute rather than create new law.                                                                      
CHAIR  SEEKINS said  it was  the  habit of  the Senate  Judiciary                                                               
Committee to try to utilize  existing statute as much as possible                                                               
rather than to create new crimes.                                                                                               
SENATOR FRENCH agreed.                                                                                                          
10:12:28 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEEKINS asked for further  testimony. Seeing none, he asked                                                               
for discussion among committee members.                                                                                         
Senator French moved  Amendment 1 to HB 101.  Strike the language                                                               
in version  F.A completely and replace  it with Draft A  from the                                                               
DOL. Hearing no objections, the amendment was adopted.                                                                          
10:14:05 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  GUESS moved  Amendment 2  to  HB 101.  Add an  immediate                                                               
effective date to the bill.  Hearing no objections, the amendment                                                               
was adopted.                                                                                                                    
10:14:05 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEEKINS asked Ms. Anne Carpeneti to comment on HB 148.                                                                    
MS.  ANNE CARPENETI,  Assistant Attorney  General, Department  of                                                               
Law  (DOL),  testified the  DOL  has  worked with  Representative                                                               
Kerttula  on the  bill  and  the DOL  fully  supports  it in  its                                                               
current form.                                                                                                                   
10:15:41 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR GUESS moved  Amendment 1 to HB 148 to  make the effective                                                               
date  immediate.   Hearing  no  objections,  the   amendment  was                                                               
CHAIR SEEKINS held HB 101 and HB 148 in committee.                                                                              

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