Legislature(2021 - 2022)
2022-02-11 House JournalFull Journal pdf
2022-02-11 House Journal Page 1820 HB 317 HOUSE BILL NO. 317 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 vacatur 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. 2022-02-11 House Journal Page 1821 The following fiscal note(s) apply: 1. Zero, Dept. of Corrections 2. Zero, Dept. of Law 3. Zero, Dept. of Public Safety 4. Fiscal, Dept. of Administration 5. Fiscal, Dept. of Administration 6. Fiscal, Dept. of Public Safety The Governor's transmittal letter dated February 10 follows: "Dear Speaker Stutes: Under the authority of Article III, Section 18, of the Alaska Constitution, I am transmitting a bill to clarify and improve Alaska's sex trafficking and human trafficking laws; establish the crime of patron of a victim of sex trafficking; and create a process for a sex trafficking victim convicted of prostitution to have that conviction vacated. 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 current language in these statutes is archaic and fails to address the realities faced by individuals 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 address the realities of how these offenses are committed and to protect underage victims. It increases the penalties for all forms of trafficking placing the most serious classification on those crimes that use force to traffic an underage person. Sex trafficking in the first, second and third degrees are now treated as sex offenses for purposes of sentencing thereby enhancing the penalties. Sex trafficking in the first and second degrees would also require sex offender registration, while sex trafficking in the third would not require registration. 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. 2022-02-11 House Journal Page 1822 The legislation also targets those who patronize those engaging in sex work. First, it increases the penalties for this conduct and establishes mandatory minimums based on the number of times a person is convicted. If a person is convicted three times within five years, the offense will become a felony. Sex trafficking would not exist without those who pay for sex. We cannot begin to address this scourge if we continue to look the other way as people continually fund the sex trafficking industry. Finally, the legislation establishes a mechanism by which a person convicted of prostitution can request the conviction be 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 something 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 crimes that ruin lives. It is time that our statutes begin to 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. Sincerely, /s/ Mike Dunleavy Governor"