Safe Passage of Safe Harbor

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Safe HarborNo one can deny that the most recent North Carolina Legislative Session was, to say the least, controversial.  But amid all the controversy came the passage of SB 683, otherwise known as the Safe Harbor Act. We first brought you news of this legislation back in April.  At the time, it was in the form of HB 825, a bill seeking to eliminate criminal prosecution of prostituted minors.  In their final vote on the bill, the NC House removed that particular provision, but it was thankfully restored by the Conference Committee before being unanimously passed on July 25 and signed into law by the governor on July 29, 2013.

Thanks to the Safe Harbor Act, North Carolina is now a safer and more supportive state for prostituted minors and all survivors of trafficking.  In addition to prostituted minors no longer facing criminal prosecution, all victims of trafficking can now have their prostitution offenses erased from their criminal record when it can be proven that they were forced into prostitution or were under 18 at the time of the offense. Read more


New Bill Aims to Protect Child Victims of Human Trafficking

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Did you know that today in North Carolina, children who are victims of human trafficking can be prosecuted?  It’s true.  In our state, the commercial sexual exploitation of children is legally viewed in many cases as prostitution, a crime committed by the minor in question rather than against him or her.

The US Department of Justice estimates that the most frequent age of entry into the commercial sex industry in the United States is 12-14 years.  And what’s more, GEMS reports that 70-90% of commercially sexually exploited children have a history of child sexual abuse.  Current practice is to treat these already vulnerable and traumatized children as criminals — despite the fact that they are not choosing prostitution themselves but are being forced or coerced into it (i.e. trafficked) by their pimps/boyfriends.  But, as of this week, change is on the horizon!

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