The passage of House Bills 5621 in 2016 now prevents older commercially sexually exploited children from being prosecuted for prostitution and, thereby, blamed for their own rape, abuse and victimization. Specifically, HB 5261 raises the age of liability under the prostitution offense to 18 years of age, to better protect 16 and 17 year olds from liability and unfair stigmas.
Arresting, charging and placing children on trial for their own victimization is counterproductive and can further traumatize the child or tighten trauma bonds with traffickers. Additionally, allowing children to be prosecuted for prostitution enables unfair stigmas to be placed on exploited children. Ensuring that victims are not treated like criminals is a necessary element to a comprehensive, just response to youth who have been commercially sexually exploited.
Additionally, laws that limit or remove protections for older minors enable buyers, traffickers, the public, and the victims themselves to believe that an older minor is less of a victim, which is inconsistent with Connecticut’s laws. Maintaining the age of 18 with respect to victim identification and protective responses provides the most uniform, legally consistent approach to deterring the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
House Bill 5621 no longer requires that a minor be victimized multiple times in order to be recognized as a victim of the crime of sex trafficking. HB 5621 removes a significant barrier to victim identification. House Bill 5621 also allows decoy investigations,” by undercover police officers posing as minors to be used against buyers seeking attempting to engage minors in commercial sex acts under Connecticut’s CSEC offense “enticing a minor.”
Thank you Governor Malloy for signing House Bill 5621 which ensures proper identification and protection for all child victims of sex trafficking!