The Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act, inspired by Minnesota’s groundbreaking Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Youth Act, seeks to encourage states to ensure that victims of human trafficking are not treated as criminals. Introduced as: S. 1733 / H.R. 3610
Sponsored by: Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and Mark Steven Kirk (R-IL) and by Representatives Erik Paulsen (R-MN-3rd) and Gwen Moore (D-WI-4th).
The Need for Safe Harbor
Although many states and the federal government recognize the crime of human trafficking, laws continue to hold trafficking victims criminally responsible when they engage in prostitution. Trafficked children under age 18 continue to be adjudicated as “delinquents” for engaging in prostitution, too often subjecting them to detention rather than providing services to help them recover from trafficking.
The Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Youth Act changed Minnesota’s approach to meeting the needs of trafficked children by recognizing that prostituted children are victims of trafficking, not criminal perpetrators. Safe Harbor excludes prostituted children from the definition of “delinquent child” to ensure they can not be held criminally accountable for engaging in prostitution. At the same time, Safe Harbor created a framework for a victim-centered, trauma-informed, culturally appropriate approach to meeting the needs of each individual child.
S. 1733 / H.R. 3610 – The Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act
Federal legislation seeks to promote state laws that treat trafficked youth as crime victims, not perpetrators, by: