The Oregon Senate approved two bills today that would protect victims of sex trafficking from criminal convictions related to their own exploitation.
The bills are part of a package produced by a workgroup fighting sex trafficking. Democratic Senator Kathleen Taylor is co-chair of the group with Republican Representative John Huffman. Taylor says it’s not right that someone who was the victim of sex trafficking should be convicted of prostitution.
“People who are trafficked are victims, period," Taylor said. "One does not necessarily choose. They may be in compromised situations and end up trafficking due to lack of other options available to them.”
One bill creates an affirmative defense in court for prostitution. The other allows people to have their records cleared if they can prove they were victims of sex trafficking. More than 300 calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline last year came from Oregon. Senate Bills 249 and 250 go next to the house for consideration.
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