I am writing to urge you to cosponsor Senate Bill 200/Assembly Bill 267, which would establish better protective responses for juvenile sex trafficking victims in Wisconsin. Based on years of specialized research on domestic minor sex trafficking in the United States, the Protected Innocence Legislative Framework was designed by Shared Hope to establish a minimum legal fabric for the protection of children from sex trafficking and access to justice for those exploited. One large, critical section of the framework evaluates whether state statues ensure protective responses for juvenile victims.
Senate Bill 200/Assembly Bill 267 would significantly improve Wisconsin’s response to juvenile sex trafficking victims because these bills:
- Bar prosecuting individuals for prostitution if the individual was under 18 at the time of the exploitation. Statutory schemes permitting prostituted children—sex trafficking victims—to be charged and prosecuted for prostitution are counterproductive and inconsistent. Children should not be punished for the very conduct that constitutes their victimization.
- Ensure all child sex trafficking victims are entitled to services through child welfare. These bills expand the requirement for law enforcement to report suspected abuse and child welfare’s obligation to investigate suspected abuse to include situations involving an exploiter who is not a child’s caregiver. Perpetrators in the sex trafficking of minors are frequently not the victims’ caregivers; nevertheless, all juvenile sex trafficking victims deserve access to services––at all stages from intervention to restoration. Without clear statutory mechanisms for ensuring prompt identification of victims followed by appropriate placement and provision of multidisciplinary services for sexually exploited youth, victims could face an inadequate child protection response.
These bills make significant progress towards better equipping Wisconsin to provide juvenile sex trafficking victims with just, restorative responses.
Can I count on your support?
[City, State, ZIP]