March 14, 2019 | Brian ATLANTA (March 2, 2019) | Senate Bill 158, or the “Anti-Human Trafficking Protective Response Act,” sponsored by Sen. Brian Strickland (R-McDonough) passed the Senate. I was honored to stand before my colleagues in the Senate, my wife and Georgia’s new First Lady, Marty Kemp, to present such an important and valuable measure. Human trafficking is one of the most horrific crimes, and it is critical that we approach the issue from every angle possible. One of the main provisions in this bill addresses the crime of human trafficking of minors. It’s sad that we live in a world where this is a problem and even a discussion that we have to have, but it’s hopeful to see the number of people and agencies that not only say this issue is a priority, but also act on it. This bill provides more protection for victims, while establishing harsher penalties against perpetrators. I look forward to seeing SB 158 signed by the Governor in the near future to prevent human trafficking from beginning in the first place, preserve the innocence of Georgia’s children and protect those who have suffered. Senate Bill 158 would extend protection for victims, or suspected victims, of human trafficking by requiring law enforcement agencies or the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) to refer children suspected of commercial sexual exploitation or trafficking to a certified victim services organization. The bill would also raise the current age of a minor and would enforce stricter penalties on the perpetrator. In addition to imprisonment of 10-20 years, the perpetrator would be subject to an additional fine of up to $100,000. The bill further defines trafficking a person for sexual servitude, defines “prostitution” and the age in which this act will be considered as such, and addresses certain physical locations in which trafficking occurs. # # # # Sen. Brian Strickland serves as a Governor’s Administration Floor Leader. He represents the 17th Senate District, which includes portions of Henry, Rockdale and Newton counties. He may be reached by phone at 404.656.7454 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.