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Ga. Senate passes bill to strengthen sex trafficking statute
Butch Miller
Butch Miller

Before the end of Crossover Day, the Georgia General Assembly’s Senate unanimously passed a bill that would expand the language on the state’s sex trafficking statute.

“This year … is consistent with each year since I have been here in 2010 that we have continued to tighten up the laws surrounding sexual servitude, sex trafficking (and) sexual solicitation,” said Sen. Butch Miller, R-Gainesville.

Senate Bill 335 would add the word “patronize” to the bill, which Miller said would affect the person paying for sex. 

Anyone convicted of soliciting or patronizing a person 16 years or older who is the “subject of sexual servitude” to “perform sexually explicit conduct” would face five to 20 years in prison.

The phrase “or older” was also added in the bill.

If the person trafficked is under the age of 16 or is “known to have a developmental disability,” the statute says the punishment is 10 to 20 years imprisonment.

Rep. Lee Hawkins, R-Gainesville, expected House Bill 915, which dealt with the bodywork therapy industry on education and licensure, to not cross over. The bill would, however, include a section that would include bodywork, or massage, therapist in a code section involving “posting ... notice with human trafficking hotline information in businesses and on (the) internet.”

“At the end of the day, it’s a pretty complex bill to move through in one year,” Hawkins said, adding it may resurface next year.

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