OLR Bill Analysis

HB 6849 (as amended by House "A")*

AN ACT STRENGTHENING PROTECTIONS FOR VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING.

SUMMARY:

This bill makes numerous changes to the statutes related to human trafficking. It:

1. expands the crime of human trafficking by broadening the conditions under which the crime is committed when the victim is a minor (under age 18);

2. requires the Department of Public Health (DPH) to provide victims of human trafficking the same services it must provide certain sexual assault victims under existing law;

3. allows the Office of Victims Services (OVS), under certain circumstances, to waive the time limitation on crime victim compensation applications for minors who are victims of human trafficking;

4. expands the conditions under which a court may erase a juvenile's record;

5. expands the list of crimes, including human trafficking, for which wiretapping is authorized; and

6. increases, from 21 to 23, the membership of the Trafficking in Persons Council (see BACKGROUND).

The bill also makes technical and conforming changes.

*House Amendment “A” specifies that human trafficking of a minor involves sexual contact that constitutes prostitution or other criminal offenses for which the third party could be charged.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

HUMAN TRAFFICKING

4 — Elements of the Crime of Human Trafficking

The bill expands the crime of human trafficking by broadening the conditions under which the crime is committed when the victim is a minor.

Under current law, a person commits human trafficking when he or she:

1. compels or induces a person, regardless of age, to (a) engage in conduct involving more than one occurrence of sexual contact with one or more third persons or (b) provide labor or services that he or she has a legal right to refrain from providing and

2. does so through coercion, fraud, or use or threatened use of force against the person or a third person.

Under the bill, the crime of human trafficking is committed against a minor when the offender compels or induces a minor to engage in conduct involving more than one occurrence of sexual contact with one or more third persons that constitutes (1) prostitution or (2) sexual contact for which the third person may be charged with a criminal offense. By law, “sexual contact” is any contact with another person's intimate parts.

By law, human trafficking is a class B felony, punishable by imprisonment up to 20 years with a one year minimum, fines up to $15,000, or both. Human trafficking of a minor is also a class B felony under the bill.

1 — DPH Services to Trafficking Victims

The bill requires DPH to provide victims of human trafficking the same services it must provide under existing law to certain sexual assault victims and victims of injury, risk of injury, or impairing morals of children. The services DPH must provide to such victims are:

1. counseling regarding human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome,

2. HIV-related testing, and

3. referral service for appropriate health care and support services.

The law requires DPH to provide such services (1) whether or not anyone is convicted or adjudicated delinquent for the violation and (2) through counseling and testing sites the department funds.

6 — Crime Victim Compensation

By law, crime victims (including those who suffer pecuniary loss as a result of the victim's injury) may generally be considered for crime victim compensation if they apply within two years after the date of personal injury or death from a qualifying incident or crime and report the crime to the police either within five days after it occurs or within five days after a report reasonably could have been made. The maximum awards are $15,000 for personal injuries and $25,000 for death.

The bill allows OVS to waive the time limitation on crime victim compensation applications for a minor who is a victim of human trafficking, if OVS finds that the minor is not at fault for not applying on time.

3 — Erasure of Police and Court Records

The bill expands the conditions under which a court may erase a juvenile's record.

By law, a child or his or her parent may petition the Superior Court to have the child's record erased for (1) a delinquency conviction, (2) an adjudication as a member of a family with service needs (FWSN) (see BACKGROUND), or (3) admitting to committing a delinquent act. Under current law, for the court to erase a juvenile's record, the following conditions must exist:

1. at least two years (four years for a serious juvenile offense) must have elapsed since the child was discharged from the supervision of the Superior Court or from the custody of the Department of Children and Families or any other agency or institution,

2. no subsequent juvenile proceeding or adult criminal proceeding is pending against the child,

3. the child has not been convicted of a delinquent act that would constitute a felony or misdemeanor if committed by an adult during the two- or four-year period,

4. the child has not been convicted as an adult of a felony or misdemeanor during this period, and

5. the child has reached adulthood.

Under the bill, the court may also erase the record if it finds that the child has a criminal record as a result of being a victim of human trafficking.

5 — Wiretapping

The bill adds aggravated sexual assault of a minor, enticing a minor, human trafficking, and obscenity concerning minors to the list of crimes for which wiretapping is authorized.

Under current law, wiretaps are authorized for the crimes of gambling, bribery, racketeering, manufacturing and selling narcotics or hallucinogens, felonies involving violence, unlawful or threatened use of physical force, or violence committed with intent to intimidate or coerce the civilian population or a government unit.

2 — Trafficking in Persons Council

The bill increases, from 21 to 23, the membership of the Trafficking in Persons Council by increasing, from one to three, the public members appointed by the Governor (see BACKGROUND). Under current law, he appoints a representative from Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, Inc. The bill requires the governor to appoint two additional public members, one each representing (1) victims of commercial exploitation of children and (2) child sex trafficking victims.

BACKGROUND

Family with Service Needs (FWSN)

A family with service needs is a family that includes a child who is at least age seven and under age 18 and who (1) has, without just cause, run away from home; (2) is beyond the control of his or her parent or other guardian; (3) has engaged in indecent or immoral conduct; (4) is truant or habitually truant or who, while in school, continuously and overtly defies school rules and regulations; or (5) is age 13 or older and is sexually active with someone who is at least age 13 but under age 16.

Trafficking in Person Council

By law, the council must (1) identify criteria for providing services to trafficking victims and (2) consult with governmental and nongovernmental organizations to develop recommendations to strengthen state and local efforts to prevent trafficking, protect and assist victims of trafficking, and prosecute traffickers. The council must meet three times per year (CGS 46b-146).

COMMITTEE ACTION

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

43

Nay

0

(04/06/2015)