Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Schmidt praises passage of human trafficking bill

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Legislation approved yesterday by the Legislature will strengthen support for some victims of human trafficking, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.

Schmidt praised legislators of both political parties for their unanimous show of support for human trafficking victims. The bill passed the House of Representatives 111- 0 and the Senate 37- 0.

“Kansas has made tremendous strides in its commitment to combat human trafficking,” Schmidt said. “Just a decade ago, our state did not even have an anti-trafficking law. Today, we have one of the strongest laws in the country, and this new legislation will further strengthen it.”

The new legislation allows human trafficking victims to file civil actions against traffickers to seek damages for personal and psychological injury. In addition, the bill requires a sentencing court to order a person convicted of human trafficking to pay restitution to the victim.

If the victim does not claim the restitution within five years, the funds will go to support other trafficking victims through the Human Trafficking Victim Assistance Fund.

The Human Trafficking Victim Assistance Fund, administered by the Office of Attorney General’s Victim Services Division provides funding for support, care, treatment and other services for victims of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of a child.

In Fiscal Year 2014, 20 grantees from the attorney general’s office located in 15 communities across Kansas reported serving 352 victims of human trafficking.

Human trafficking is the second-largest and the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world. It is based on recruiting, harboring and transporting people solely for the purpose of exploitation.

The legislation approved yesterday by the Legislature, Senate Bill 113, was proposed by Attorney General Schmidt in February. It will now be presented to the governor for his consideration.