April 5, 2019

Denver CO – The Colorado State Senate today voted 33-0 with 2 excused to pass SB19-185, Protections for Minor Human Trafficking, a bill sponsored by Senator Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora) to increase protections for minors who are victims of human trafficking and increase penalties for human traffickers. It now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

“My heart breaks for victims of human trafficking, but today I am proud of our bipartisan effort to help them. This bill went through an extensive stakeholder process because it’s so important to get the policy right here, and I’m confident that we did,” said Senator Fields. “By coming together in the Senate to pass this bill, Colorado is taking this critical step forward in our attempt to combat this atrocious practice and protect young children.”

SB19-185 would clarify the definition in the “Colorado Children’s Code” concerning victims of human trafficking 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 is an issue that I’ve been working on every year of the five years I have served in the General Assembly. The tremendous support for this bill proves that this is not a Republican or Democratic issue – this is a human rights issue,” said Senate co-sponsor Paul Laundeen (R-Monument). “We need to do our best to protect the most vulnerable members of our society, and passing this bill is a step in that direction.”

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 this bill please visit: http://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb19-185.