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Sens. Waterman, Tomes: Tightened Human Trafficking Restrictions Approved by House Committee

STATEHOUSE (March 13, 2013) — Senate Bill 509, authored by State Sens. John Waterman (R-Shelburn) and Jim Tomes (R-Wadesville), is one step closer to becoming law after passing the House of Representatives Committee on Courts and Criminal Code today by a 12-0 vote.

If approved by the General Assembly this year, SB 509 would expand Indiana’s human trafficking statute to make it illegal to arrange for an individual under age 18 to participate in any sexual act or forced labor. Currently, this protection extends to children 16-years-old or younger.

“The goal here is simple: Afford all young Hoosiers the same protection under Indiana’s human trafficking laws,” Waterman said. “Closing this age loophole will put Indiana on par with many other states.”

Tomes agreed, noting that he signed onto the bill because he backs Waterman’s efforts 100 percent.

“Unfortunately, human trafficking is a $32 billion per year industry,” Tomes said. “As legislators elected to help those we represent, we should do all we can to guard these kids, no matter their ages.”

SB 509 now moves to the full House for further consideration.