PA 16-71—sHB 5621

Judiciary Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING HUMAN TRAFFICKING

SUMMARY: This act makes a number of changes related to human trafficking. It:

1. increases the Trafficking in Persons Council's membership and changes the council's charge;

2. requires the state's attorneys for the 13 judicial districts and all municipal police chiefs to annually report information on trafficking cases and their anti-trafficking efforts to the Children's and Judiciary committees;

3. requires operators of hotels, motels, inns, and similar lodgings to (a) maintain a system to keep records of all guest transactions and receipts for at least six months and (b) ensure that their employees receive training on human trafficking when they are hired and conduct ongoing awareness campaigns (§§ 3 & 5);

4. requires the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) commissioners to consult with state and national hotel and lodging associations to recommend a training and refresher training program on human trafficking; and

5. requires more people to post a notice about services for human trafficking victims.

The act also makes a number of changes to trafficking-related crimes. Among other things, it:

1. prohibits someone age 16 or 17 from being convicted of prostitution and alters eligibility for vacating a prostitution conviction,

2. expands the conduct punishable as a class C felony (see Table on Penalties) under the crime of patronizing a prostitute,

3. sets the fine that is part of the penalty for certain prostitution-related crimes at the maximum of the range that previously applied for each crime,

4. expands the crime of enticing a minor to include enticing a minor age 16 or 17 or someone reasonably believed to be under age 18,

5. changes the types of property subject to forfeiture as tainted funds and property related to sexual exploitation and human trafficking by (a) eliminating funds and property related to prostitution from these procedures and (b) subjecting to forfeiture property used or intended for use to commit or facilitate committing the crimes of patronizing a prostitute or patronizing a prostitute from a motor vehicle, and

6. expands the trafficking in persons crime and allows the court to impose a standing criminal protective order against someone convicted of certain types of trafficking.

The act also requires the judicial branch's family violence training program for judges, certain judicial branch employees, and guardians ad litem to include an examination of the factors that contribute to a family being at risk of domestic violence.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016, except the annual reporting requirement for state's attorneys and municipal police chiefs is effective upon passage.

§ 1 — TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS COUNCIL

The act increases the Trafficking in Persons Council's membership from 22 to 25 by:

1. adding as members the consumer protection commissioner and Police Officer Standards and Training Council Basic Training Division director, or their designees;

2. adding as a second appointment by the Senate president pro tempore a public member representing the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence;

3. adding as a second appointment by the House speaker a public member representing the Connecticut Lodging Association; and

4. eliminating, as one of the governor's appointments, a member representing Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, Inc.

The act changes the council's charge by (1) eliminating the council's duty to identify criteria for providing services to adult and child trafficking victims and (2) requiring it to coordinate the collection, analysis, and dissemination of data on human trafficking. By law, the council must also meet to provide updates and progress reports and consult with government and private organizations in developing recommendations on trafficking efforts.

§ 2 — REPORTS ON TRAFFICKING ACTIVITIES AND STATISTICS

The act requires each state's attorney and each municipal police chief to report to the Children's and Judiciary committees annually, beginning by October 1, 2016, on:

1. their participation in federal, statewide, or regional anti-trafficking efforts;

2. the criteria used when deciding whether to investigate human trafficking allegations or initiate related criminal proceedings;

3. coordination between the Chief State's Attorney's Office and local police departments on trafficking cases;

4. the nature of annual training provided by each state's attorney and local police department on trafficking;

5. obstacles to investigating trafficking; and

6. the number of (a) referrals made related to human trafficking allegations, (b) missing children investigations, (c) referrals from DCF relating to trafficking, and (d) trafficking cases referred for prosecution.

The act also requires state's attorneys to report for the previous 12 months on the (1) number of trafficking cases that resulted in convictions and (2) final dispositions of trafficking cases, including those appealed.

§§ 4 & 5 — TRAINING

The act requires the DCF and DESPP commissioners to consult with state and national hotel and lodging associations to recommend a training and refresher training program for accurately and promptly identifying and reporting suspected human trafficking. As part of the training, the commissioners must develop and approve a video presentation that offers guidance to hotel, motel, and similar lodging employees on recognizing potential trafficking victims and common trafficking activities.

The act also requires operators of hotels, motels, and similar lodgings to ensure that employees in these establishments receive training when they are hired on recognizing potential trafficking victims and common trafficking activities. They must also (1) conduct ongoing awareness campaigns for employees on common human trafficking activities and (2) annually, beginning by October 1, 2017, certify in each employee's personnel file that the employee received the training.

§§ 6 & 15 — PROSTITUTION

Conviction

The act prohibits convicting someone age 16 or 17 of prostitution. Previously, someone this age could be convicted of prostitution but he or she was presumed to be a human trafficking victim. The presumption provided an affirmative defense to a prostitution charge.

By law, prostitution is a class A misdemeanor (see Table on Penalties).

Vacating Conviction

Prior law allowed anyone convicted of prostitution to apply to Superior Court to vacate the conviction because he or she was a victim of conduct that, at the time of the offense, amounted to a crime of trafficking in persons under state law or involuntary servitude, slavery, or trafficking under federal law.

Instead of tying eligibility to the person's status at the time of the prostitution crime as described above, the act requires the person to show that his or her participation in the prostitution crime was because he or she was a victim of trafficking or the conduct described above.

By law, after receiving an application to vacate a prostitution conviction, the court must (1) give the prosecutor an opportunity to investigate and contest the application and (2) vacate the judgment and dismiss the charge if the defendant proves he or she was a victim of the conduct.

§ 7 — PATRONIZING A PROSTITUTE

Under prior law, patronizing a prostitute was a class C felony if the person knew or reasonably should have known at the time of the offense that the prostitute was under age 18 or a trafficking victim. The act subjects someone to this penalty regardless of whether he or she knows or should have known the prostitute's age or status as a trafficking victim.

By law, other forms of patronizing a prostitute are punishable as a class A misdemeanor. The act sets the fine at $2,000 for this crime. Previously, courts could impose a fine of up to $2,000.

§§ 8 & 16-19 — FINES FOR CERTAIN PROSTITUTION-RELATED CRIMES

The act sets the fine that is part of the penalty for certain prostitution-related crimes at the maximum of the range that was previously applicable for each crime, as shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Penalties for Various Prostitution-Related Crimes and Changes to Fines Under the Act

Crime

(§)

Classification

Prison Penalty

Prior Fine

Fine Under the Act

Patronizing a prostitute from a motor vehicle (§ 8)

Class A misdemeanor

Up to one year

Up to $2,000

$2,000

1st degree promoting prostitution (§ 16)

Class B felony

Up to 20 years, with a nine-month mandatory minimum if involving prostitute under age 18

Up to $15,000

$15,000

2nd degree promoting prostitution (§ 17)

Class C felony

Up to 10 years

Up to $10,000

$10,000

3rd degree promoting prostitution (§ 18)

Class D felony

Up to five years

Up to $5,000

$5,000

Permitting prostitution (§ 19)

Class A misdemeanor

Up to one year

Up to $2,000

$2,000

§ 9 — ENTICING A MINOR

By law, a person commits this crime by using an interactive computer service to knowingly persuade, induce, entice, or coerce a minor to engage in prostitution or illegal sexual activity.

The act expands this crime to include enticing a minor age 16 or 17; prior law applied to minors under age 16. It also expands the crime to punish someone who reasonably believes the person being enticed is under age 18.

By law, this crime is a class D felony for a first offense, a class C felony for a second offense, and a class B felony for a third or subsequent offense. But if the victim is under age 13, it is a class B felony, with a five-year mandatory minimum for a first offense and a 10-year mandatory minimum for a subsequent offense.

§ 10 — POSTING TRAFFICKING NOTICES

The act requires more people to post a notice developed by the Office of the Chief Court Administrator about services for human trafficking victims.

It expands the types of service stops that must post the notice. Previously, privately owned and operated facilities offering food, fuel, lawful overnight truck parking, and shower and laundry facilities were required to post it. The act instead requires any publicly or privately operated highway service plaza to post it. It also requires hotels, motels, similar lodgings, and businesses that offer materials for sale or promote performances for adult audiences to post the notice.

The act requires someone to post the notice if he or she holds one of the following types of on-premises consumption permits for the retail sale of alcohol: restaurant permit, restaurant permit for beer, restaurant permit for wine and beer, or café permit. As under existing law, other retail alcohol permit holders must post the notice, except for those who hold only one or more of the following permits:

1. caterer, railroad, boat, airline, military, charitable organization, or special club permit;

2. temporary liquor or temporary beer permit; or

3. farm winery or beer manufacturer permit, beer and brew pub manufacturer permit, or other manufacturer permit.

By law, this notice must state the toll-free state and federal anti-trafficking hotline numbers that someone can call if he or she is forced to engage in an activity and cannot leave.

§§ 12 & 14 — TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS CRIME AND STANDING CRIMINAL PROTECTIVE ORDERS

The act expands the trafficking in persons crime. Previously, a person could commit this crime by compelling or inducing another person to engage in multiple occurrences of sexual contact with at least one third person by (1) using or threatening to use force against either person or (2) committing fraud or coercing the person. The act expands the crime by requiring only one occurrence of sexual contact under these circumstances.

Previously, another way to commit this crime was to compel or induce someone under age 18 to engage in more than one occurrence of sexual contact that is prostitution or illegal sexual contact with a third person.   The act expands the crime by requiring only one occurrence of sexual contact and eliminating references to prostitution. The act also allows the court to impose a standing criminal protective order against someone convicted of committing this type of trafficking.  

By law, this crime is a class B felony.

§ 13 — JUDICIAL BRANCH TRAINING

The act requires the judicial branch's family violence training program to include an examination of the factors that contribute to a family being at risk of domestic violence. By law, the branch provides this training to judges, Court Support Services Division personnel, guardians ad litem, and clerks.

As under existing law, this training program covers policies and procedures on family relations matters, family violence prevention and response, the function of family violence intervention units, and restraining and protective orders.

As under existing law, the branch may consult with domestic violence organizations on the training program.

BACKGROUND

Standing Criminal Protective Order

The law allows the court to issue one of these orders when someone is convicted of a family violence crime or certain other crimes against a family or household member and the history, character, nature, and circumstances of the offender's conduct indicate that the order best serves the victim's and public's interests.

The court may issue an order for just cause after a person is convicted of another type of crime.

The court sets the order's duration and terms and can modify or revoke it for good cause (CGS § 53a-40e).

OLR Tracking: CR, JR; VR; cmg