Legislature(2019 - 2020)

2020-01-27 House Journal

Full Journal pdf

2020-01-27                     House Journal                      Page 1478
HB 225                                                                                                                        
HOUSE BILL NO. 225 by the House Rules Committee by request of                                                                   
the Governor, entitled:                                                                                                         
     "An Act relating to sex trafficking; establishing the crime of                                                             
     patron of a victim of sex trafficking; relating to the crime of                                                            
     human trafficking; relating to sentencing for sex trafficking and                                                          
     patron of a victim of sex trafficking; establishing the process for a                                                      
     vacation of judgment for a conviction of prostitution; and                                                                 
     providing for an effective date."                                                                                          
was read the first time and referred to the State Affairs, Judiciary, and                                                       
Finance Committees.                                                                                                             
The following fiscal note(s) apply:                                                                                             
1.  Zero, Dept. of Administration                                                                                               
2.  Zero, Dept. of Health & Social Services                                                                                     
3.  Zero, Dept. of Law                                                                                                          
4.  Zero, Dept. of Public Safety                                                                                                
5.  Zero, Dept. of Public Safety                                                                                                
6.  Zero, Dept. of Public Safety                                                                                                
7.  Indeterminate, Dept. of Administration                                                                                      
8.  Indeterminate, Dept. of Administration                                                                                      
9.  Indeterminate, Dept. of Corrections                                                                                         
The Governor's transmittal letter dated January 24 follows:                                                                     
"Dear Speaker Edgmon:                                                                                                           
Under the authority of Article III, Section 18, of the Alaska                                                                   
Constitution, I am transmitting a bill relating to sex trafficking and                                                          
human trafficking; establishing the crime of "Patron of a Victim of                                                             
Sex Trafficking;" and creating a process for a victim of sex trafficking                                                        

2020-01-27                     House Journal                      Page 1479
who has been convicted of prostitution to have that conviction                                                                  
Alaska's sex trafficking and human trafficking statutes do not                                                                  
adequately address the serious nature of these offenses or provide                                                              
sufficient protections for underage victims. The language in these                                                              
statutes is archaic and no longer addresses the realities faced by                                                              
individuals who are forced into the labor or sex trade; creating                                                                
situations where victims are unaided and perpetrators go undetected.                                                            
The proposed legislation will restructure the human trafficking and sex                                                         
trafficking statutes to better address the realities of how these offenses                                                      
are committed and protect underage victims. The bill increases the                                                              
penalties for all forms of trafficking, leaving the most serious                                                                
classification for those who use force or traffic an underage person.                                                           
Additionally, sex trafficking of all degrees will be a sex offense                                                              
subject to the increased penalties for sex offenses and require                                                                 
registration as a sex offender. The legislation also establishes the new                                                        
crime of "Patron of a Victim of Sex Trafficking." While it is crucial to                                                        
target those who traffic individuals, it is equally important to address                                                        
those who create a demand for victims of sex trafficking; specifically                                                          
underage victims of sex trafficking.                                                                                            
Finally, the legislation establishes a mechanism by which a person                                                              
who has been convicted of prostitution can get that conviction vacated                                                          
if they were a victim of sex trafficking at the time of the prostitution                                                        
offense. The threat of being charged with a crime is often a tactic that                                                        
traffickers will use to continue to control their victims. It is important                                                      
for society to recognize that these victims often have no other choice,                                                         
and they should not be treated as criminals when they are, in fact,                                                             
victims themselves.                                                                                                             
Human trafficking and sex trafficking are insidious, and these crimes                                                           
ruin lives. It is time that our laws adequately address the devastation                                                         
this predatory conduct has on our society and protect those who need it                                                         
most. I urge your prompt and favorable action on this measure.                                                                  
Mike Dunleavy