FRANKFORT — Lawmakers appear poised to strengthen Kentucky’s human trafficking laws in the final days of the legislative session.
The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed a bill Tuesday, March 14 that stiffens penalties against criminals who use children in human trafficking and that requires a human trafficking victims hotline number to be posted in schools and in rest areas along highways.
The measure will now go to the Senate for final passage.
“Human trafficking is real,” said state Rep. Addia Wuchner, R-Florence. “We had a house in northern Kentucky where there was human trafficking. We’ve had a parent trafficking their 12-year-old child. These are real cases, and they’re happening here in the commonwealth of Kentucky.”
The requirement for signs to be posted will come at no cost to the state, Wuchner said, because they will be supplied at no charge by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center and other agencies.
Other bills clearing the committee include House Bill 315, strengthening penalties for those convicted of recruiting for gangs; and House Bill 261, which would end the practice of allowing those convicted of driving under the influence after the 10-year lookback period of returning to a first offense DUI.
Additionally, lawmakers’ two week break began on March 16 after a flurry of other major bills were passed, including one that would allow construction of nuclear power plants in Kentucky and another that would allow publicly funded charter schools to open.
Lawmakers are scheduled to return to the Capitol on March 29 for the two final days of this year’s legislative session. (KT)