PA 15-195—HB 6849

Judiciary Committee

AN ACT STRENGTHENING PROTECTIONS FOR VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING

SUMMARY: This act makes numerous changes in the statutes related to human trafficking by:

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

3. expanding the conditions under which a court must order the erasure of a juvenile's police and court records;

4. expanding the list of crimes, including human trafficking, for which wiretapping may be authorized;

5. increasing, from 20 to 22, the membership of the Trafficking in Persons Council; and

6. specifically allowing the Office of Victim Services (OVS), under certain circumstances, to waive the two-year limitation on crime victim compensation applications for minors who are victims of human trafficking.

The act also makes technical and conforming changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

4 — ELEMENTS OF THE CRIME OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING

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

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

1. compels or induces another 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 the use or threatened use of force against the other person or a third person.

Under the act, human trafficking also includes compelling or inducing 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, human trafficking is a class B felony (see Table on Penalties).

1 — DPH SERVICES TO TRAFFICKING VICTIMS

The act 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 risk of injury to a minor involving sexual acts. These services are:

1. counseling about HIV and AIDS,

2. HIV-related testing, and

3. referrals 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.

3 — ERASURE OF POLICE AND COURT RECORDS

The act expands the conditions under which a court, upon request, must order the erasure of a juvenile's police or court records after discharge from court supervision or court-ordered custody. It requires a court to do so if the court finds that the child has a criminal record as a result of being a victim of human trafficking or related federal crimes.

By law, after such discharge, the child or his or her parent or guardian may petition the Superior Court to have the child's police and court records erased for (1) a delinquency conviction, (2) an adjudication as a member of a family with service needs, or (3) admitting to committing a delinquent act. Under existing law, for the court to erase a juvenile's record in this situation, 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 as an adult of a felony or misdemeanor or of a delinquent act that would constitute a felony or misdemeanor if committed by an adult during the two- or four-year period, and

4. the child has reached adulthood.

5 — WIRETAPPING

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

Under existing law, wiretaps may be authorized for the crimes of gambling; bribery; racketeering; manufacturing or selling illegal drugs; or 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 act increases, from 20 to 22, the membership of the Trafficking in Persons Council by increasing, from one to three, the public members appointed by the governor. Under existing law, he appoints a representative from Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, Inc. The act requires the governor to appoint two additional members, one each representing victims of (1) commercial exploitation of children and (2) child sex trafficking.

6 — CRIME VICTIM COMPENSATION

By law, crime victims (including those who suffer pecuniary loss as a result of the victim's injury) are generally eligible for crime victim compensation if they (1) apply within two years after the date of personal injury or death from a qualifying incident or crime and (2) 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.

Existing law allows OVS to waive the two-year limitation on crime victim compensation applications for minors if the office finds that the minor is not at fault for missing the deadline. The act specifies that this includes minors who are victims of human trafficking or related federal crimes.

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