from a press release:
SEN. DUFF: SENATE APPROVES CHILD SAFE HARBOR LEGISLATION
Thanks Brien McMahon students for their advocacy on behalf of bill
Hartford – In legislative session today, the state Senate approved legislation unanimously that extends safe harbor to minors who are victims of sexual exploitation, reported state Senator Bob Duff (D-Norwalk).
Under current law, prostitution is considered a crime regardless of the offender’s age. The bill—approved unanimously by consent in the Senate today—creates the presumption that a 16 or 17-year-old charged with prostitution was coerced into committing the offense by another person in violation of laws against trafficking in persons and that younger children would be free from prosecution in all cases.
On the floor of the Senate, Senator Duff recognized the student members of the Center for Youth Leadership at Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk for their support and advocacy on behalf of this legislation.
“Even on their spring vacation, the students from the Center for Youth Leadership sent numerous e-mails in support of this legislation, working diligently to see this bill brought through the legislature,” said Senator Duff. “I’m proud of the effort these Norwalk teenagers put into this legislation—which will help to protect children who are coerced and forced into a bad situation through no fault of their own—and was proud to support the bill in the Senate today.”
The bill increases the penalty for promoting the prostitution of a person under 18 years old by making it a class B felony, which carries a prison sentence of one to 20 years, a fine of up to $15,000 or both. The bill imposes a nine-month mandatory minimum prison sentence for promoting prostitution of someone under age 18.
The legislation—Senate Bill 153, An Act Providing a Safe Harbor for Exploited Children—now moves to the state House of Representatives for consideration.
The 2010 regular legislative session adjourns on May 5.