OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 7309 (as amended by House "A")*

AN ACT CONCERNING HUMAN TRAFFICKING.

SUMMARY

This bill makes various changes in laws that pertain to human trafficking. The bill principally:

1. adds to the Trafficking in Persons Council's membership and expands the council's charge;

2. expands the conduct punishable as a trafficking in persons crime and increases the penalty for the crime;

3. reduces the penalty for patronizing a prostitute when the victim is a trafficking victim;

4. repeals the higher penalties under the patronizing a prostitute statute for conduct that involves a minor but imposes stricter penalties under a new crime the bill creates (“commercial sexual abuse of a minor”);

5. broadens the list of people and entities required to post a notice about services for human trafficking victims and imposes a penalty for violations;

6. requires the Department of Children and Families (DCF) commissioner to consult with the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) commissioner in developing an educational and refresher training program related to human trafficking; and

7. requires the attorney general to develop and report on a proposed certification for inclusion in state contracts to conform, to the extent legally feasible, with the provisions of the federal Executive Order 13627, Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons in Federal Contracts.

It also makes technical and conforming changes.

*House Amendment “A” replaces the underlying bill with similar provisions and in so doing it (1) modifies the definition of “sex trafficking” for the purpose of the trafficking in persons crime; (2) increases the underlying bill's penalty for commercial sexual abuse of a minor when the victim is under age 15; (3) further expands the list of people and entities required to post notices on human trafficking services; (4) requires the attorney general, instead of the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) commissioner, to develop and report on a proposed certification for use in state contracts; and (5) makes other minor changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2017, except the provision on the attorney general's proposed certification is effective upon passage.

1 — TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS COUNCIL

Membership

The bill increases the council's membership from 25 to 27 by adding an adult trafficking victim, appointed by the governor, and the Education commissioner or her designee.

Responsibilities

By law, the council must (1) coordinate the collection, analysis, and dissemination of data regarding human trafficking and (2) meet to provide updates and progress reports and consult with government and nongovernmental organizations in developing recommendations on trafficking efforts.

The bill expands the council's charge by requiring it to develop:

1. a list of key trafficking victim indicators;

2. a standardized curriculum and conduct training for doctors, nurses, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, emergency medical services personnel, teachers, school counselors, school administrators, and DCF and Department of Public Health (DPH) personnel to identify human trafficking victims using the list of key indicators and assist the victims;

3. training for DCF and DPH personnel on methods to identify foster care children who may be at risk of becoming trafficking victims, and to conduct such training; and

4. a plan for mental health, support, and substance abuse programs for individuals identified as trafficking victims and those arrested for prostitution.

Plan for Trafficking Victims' Programs

Under the bill, the plan for mental health, support, and substance abuse programs for trafficking victims must provide for the:

1. diversion of trafficking victims and prostitution offenders into community-based treatment and support services, including substance abuse recovery, housing, healthcare, job training, treatment and mental health support; and

2. after the successful completion of the program, the dismissal of any related criminal charges against the accused.

Reporting Recommendations

Starting by January 1, 2018, the bill requires the council to include the plan, and any recommendations for legislation to implement the plan, as part of its annual report to the legislature.

The bill also requires the council to examine the challenges faced by trafficking victims who do not have legal immigration status. It allows the council to include in any of its reports recommendations for services that could benefit those individuals and legislation to provide such services.

2 — TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS

The bill expands the trafficking in persons crime to include the commission of a sex trafficking act.

Under the bill, “sex trafficking” is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, or provision of a person for the purpose of engaging in sexual conduct with another person for a fee.

Currently, one way to commit the trafficking in persons crime is to compel or induce someone under age 18 to engage in sexual contact that is prostitution or illegal sexual contact with a third person.

The bill also increases, from a class B felony to class A felony, the penalty for the trafficking in persons crime.

By law, a class B felony is punishable by one to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $15,000, or both. A class A felony is punishable by 10 to 25 years in prison, a fine of up to $20,000, or both.

3 & 10 — PATRONIZING A PROSTITUTE

Patronizing a Prostitute

Currently, patronizing a prostitute is a class C felony if the victim is a minor (under age 18) or a trafficking victim. By law, a class C felony is punishable by one to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

By law, other cases of patronizing a prostitute are a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a mandatory $2,000 fine.

When Victim is a Minor. The bill repeals the higher penalties under the patronizing a prostitute statute for conduct that involves a minor but imposes stricter penalties under a new crime the bill creates, “commercial sexual abuse of a minor,” (see 4 below).

Trafficking Victim. The bill reduces, from a class C felony to a class A misdemeanor, the penalty for patronizing a prostitute when the victim is a trafficking victim. It expands the trafficking in persons crime to include the commission of a sex trafficking act and imposes a stricter penalty (see 2 above).

Patronizing a Prostitute From a Motor Vehicle

The bill repeals the patronizing a prostitute from a motor vehicle statute and the corresponding impoundment statute. The provisions of these repealed statutes are addressed under existing patronizing a prostitute and forfeiture laws. Under existing law, patronizing a prostitute from a motor vehicle carries the same penalty as other cases of patronizing a prostitute as described above.

4 — COMMERCIAL SEXUAL ABUSE OF A MINOR

Under the bill, a person is guilty of commercial sexual abuse of a minor when the person:

1. pays a fee to a minor or third person as compensation for a minor (under age 18) engaging in sexual conduct with such person;

2. pays or agrees to pay a fee to a minor or a third person pursuant to an understanding that in return for such fee the minor will engage in sexual conduct with such person; or

3. solicits or requests to engage in sexual conduct with a minor, or any other person that such person reasonably believes to be a minor, in return for a fee.

Under the bill, commercial sexual abuse of a minor is a (1) class B felony if the victim is age 15, 16, or 17 and (2) class A felony if the victim is under age 15.

5 — HUMAN TRAFFICKING VICTIM SERVICES NOTICE

Notice

The bill adds to those people and entities required 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 operators that must post the notice. Currently, any publicly or privately operated service plazas, hotels, motels, similar lodgings, and businesses that offer for sale or promote performances for adult audiences must post it. The bill requires operators of the following services to post this notice:

1. an establishment that provides massage services for a fee;

2. a public airport;

3. an acute care hospital emergency room;

4. an urgent care facility;

5. a passenger rail or bus service station;

6. an employment agency that offers personnel services to any operator required to post the notice; and

7. an establishment that provides services performed by a nail technician.

With certain exceptions, the law requires someone to post the notice if he or she holds an on-premises consumption permit for the retail sale of alcohol. Existing exceptions include caterers, railroads, boats, airlines, charitable organizations, and special clubs. The bill eliminates the exception for railroads and airlines.

Under existing law, the notice must be posted in plain view in a conspicuous location where sales occur. The bill expands this to include locations where the labor and services are provided or performed, tickets are sold, and other transactions occur.

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

Penalty

Under the bill, any operator or person who fails to comply with the notice provision is subject to a fine of $100 for the first offense and $250 for a subsequent offense. Additionally, violators are subject to any license, permit, or certificate suspension or revocation proceeding that an appropriate authority may initiate.

6 — DCF EDUCATIONAL TRAINING PROGRAM

The bill requires the DCF commissioner, in consultation with the DESPP commissioner, to develop and approve an educational and refresher training program to accurately and promptly identify and report suspected human trafficking.

The program must include a video presentation that offers awareness of human trafficking issues and guidance to:

1. law enforcement personnel;

2. Superior Court judges;

3. prosecutors, public defenders, and attorneys who represent criminal defendants;

4. hospital emergency room and urgent care facility staff who have contact with patients; and

5. local or regional board of education, University of Connecticut, or Connecticut state college or university employees who have contact with students. (The bill does not specify what “contact” means.)

These individuals must complete the (1) initial educational training by July 1, 2018 and (2) refresher training annually thereafter. New hires must complete the initial educational training within six months after their start date, or by July 1, 2018, whichever is later.

7 — ATTORNEY GENERAL'S PROPOSED CERTIFICATION

The bill requires the attorney general to:

1. develop a proposed certification for inclusion in state contracts that conforms, to the extent legally feasible, with the provisions of federal Executive Order 13627, Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons in Federal Contracts (see BACKGROUND);

2. do so in consultation with the DAS commissioner, the Office of Policy and Management secretary, and any other state agencies or interested parties the attorney general deems necessary; and

3. starting January 1, 2018, submit a report reflecting the proposed certification along with any related recommendations, to the Judiciary and Government Administration and Elections committees.

BACKGROUND

Federal Executive Order 13627

This order required the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council to amend federal regulations to strengthen the effectiveness of the Government's zero-tolerance policy on trafficking in persons by federal contractors and subcontractors in solicitations, contracts, and subcontracts for supplies or services. Among other things, it:

1. expressly prohibits federal contractors, contractor employees, subcontractors, and subcontractor employees from (a) using misleading or fraudulent recruitment practices, (b) charging employees recruitment fees, or (c) denying an employee access to the employee's identity documents, such as passports or drivers' licenses;

2. requires contractors and their subcontractors, by contract, to agree to cooperate fully with the enforcement agencies responsible for audits and investigations; and

3. requires contractors and subcontractors to (a) notify specific federal agencies if they become aware of certain activities and (b) maintain a compliance plan.

Related Bill

sHB 7310, reported favorably by the Judiciary Committee, increases, from a class C felony to a class B felony, the penalty for patronizing a prostitute if the victim is under age 16. It maintains existing law's penalty of a class C felony if the victim is age 16 or 17 or a trafficking victim.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

39

Nay

0

(04/04/2017)