| 03.17.2018

Taming trafficking


One of the most egregious violations of human rights is sex trafficking, but this modern-day slavery is not limited to the far reaches of Europe or Asia. It’s happening in Idaho too.Idaho Appellate Public Defender Sara Thomas said there have been instances of girls being lured from Boise Town Square Mall, and others have been brought from other states to hotels in Idaho Falls and Coeur d’Alene and sold for sex.
In June 2012, a Boise man was prosecuted for advertising on the Internet that his 3-year-old daughter was available for sex.
However, in Idaho, human trafficking is not considered a crime.
The Idaho Criminal Justice Commission is introducing legislation to the Idaho Senate Feb. 6 to change the state’s human trafficking laws.
The bill would make it a felony to purchase or coerce a minor with anything of value, including cash but also providing them with food, shelter or drugs. The second part of the bill would make anyone in violation of the first condition a registered sex offender. The bill would also enable the state to confiscate the profit of anyone who is earning money from selling people for sexual services.
Thomas said right now purchasing someone who is under 18 for sex with something of value other than cash is not a crime. If cash is used, it is considered prostitution and a misdemeanor. If human trafficking is committed in addition to another crime, it is used as a sentence enhancement of up to 25 years.
The U.S. government spends 300 times more money each year to stop drug trafficking than human trafficking, according to an article on CNN. The article also reported that the criminal penalties for trafficking cocaine are 20 times greater than the consequences for people who buy and sell girls.
Why is harsher punishment dealt to those who trade an illegal substance than those who trade humans?
The U.S. Department of Justice estimates between 100,000 to 300,000 children are sold for sex every year in the U.S. But before we can stop human trafficking nationwide, we have to notice and stop the violence in our own communities.
Legally recognizing human trafficking as a crime in Idaho is a good place to start.
— EE

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