April 1, 2019

Denver, CO – The Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee today voted unanimously to pass SB19-185, Protections for Minor Human Trafficking, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Senator Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora) to increase protections for minors who are victims of human trafficking. The bill now heads to the Committee of Whole with a recommendation that it be placed on the consent calendar.

“This bill is about protecting some of our most vulnerable Coloradans – our children. I am proud to have bipartisan support on this important issue,” said Senator Fields. “While we need to do more to prevent human trafficking from taking place altogether, this bill provides training for law enforcement and creates a safe haven for victims so they can receive the treatment, care, and support they need.

SB19-185 would clarify the definition in the “Colorado Children’s Code” concerning victims of human traffick of a minor for involuntary servitude and for sexual servitude. It would also create immunity for a violation of a prostitution-related offense if probable cause exists to believe that a minor was a victim of either human trafficking of a minor for involuntary servitude or for sexual servitude.

“This bill goes a long way to achieving the beginning of a cultural shift in caring for the wellbeing of juvenile victims and survivors of human trafficking,” said Senator Paul Lundeen (R-Monument), a Senator co-sponsor.

The bill also requires a minor who engages in prostitution-related conduct to be referred to the county department of human or social services or child abuse. If a law enforcement officer encounters such a minor, and there is probable cause to believe that minor was a victim of human trafficking of a minor for sexual servitude, the officer shall report the suspected violation to the county department of human or social services or the child abuse hotline.

For more information on SB19-185, please visit http://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb19-185.