Kentucky, other AGs urge legal group to reject lower human trafficking penalties

Bipartisan Coalition Urging ALI to Reject Amendments Reducing Penalties for Human Trafficking, Sexual Assault

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – A bipartisan coalition of 37 attorneys general is urging the American Law Institute (ALI) to reject proposed amendments to the Model Penal Code (MPC) that would reduce penalties for human trafficking and sexual assault crimes.

In their letter, the attorneys general, including Kentucky’s Daniel Cameron, call on ALI to deny the proposed changes to Section 213 of the MPC because the recommendations undercut the progress that has been made to hold offenders responsible while effectively identifying and supporting survivors.

“The proposed changes to the Model Penal Code could hamper the progress we’ve made to protect Kentuckians from criminals who engage in sex trafficking and sexual assault,” said Cameron. “Safeguarding our most vulnerable is a top priority for my office. We joined this coalition to ensure that ALI understands the effects of these proposed recommendations.”

The attorneys general are concerned by the suggested modifications to the MPC as it relates to sex trafficking because the proposed amendments would limit the criminal liability of traffickers and eliminate accountability for those who profit from exploitation.

The attorneys general write that “[t]he current draft rejects decades of progress made in anti-trafficking enforcement. It departs from applicable federal statutes and the majority of state laws that have been carefully constructed by subject matter experts, are supported by data, and rely on the experience of sex trafficking survivors.”

In their letter, the coalition also highlights the dangers posed by these recommendations to the public, especially children: “The revisions contemplated fail to treat sex predators appropriately and would provide them more freedom to commit these heinous crimes, putting the citizens we represent at greater risk of becoming victims.”

Some of the proposed changes to the MPC include:

Regarding Sex Trafficking:

  • Prevents criminal justice professionals from establishing a child sex trafficking crime unless a trafficker has been identified.
  • Removes criminal penalties for individuals who benefit from sex trafficking.
  • Does not hold buyers accountable for paying to engage in commercial sex with minors.
  • Requires prosecutors to prove that the perpetrator knew a victim was under 18.

Regarding Sex Offender Registries:

  • Restricts nonprofit and public access to sex offender registry information.
  • Downgrades the failure to register to a misdemeanor.
  • Removes key identifiers like date of birth and a driver’s license number from registry requirements.
  • Removes the following crimes from the list of offenses that require registration:
    • Kidnapping and attempted kidnapping
    • Online enticement
    • Sex trafficking
    • Crimes related to Child sexual abuse materials
    • Sexual assault of minors older than 12
    • Incidents of sexual assault that do not involve force or restraint

Attorney General Cameron joined attorneys general from Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia, and West Virginia in signing the letter.

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