Governor, First Lady Introduce Anti-Human Trafficking Legislation
Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020
Yesterday Governor Brian P. Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp were joined by Georgians for Refuge, Action, Compassion, and Education (GRACE) Commission members, legislators, and special guests as they announced three important legislative measures to combat human trafficking in Georgia.
"Traveling across our state, I have talked to many survivors," said First Lady Kemp. "I have assured them that Georgia is listening to them, and now - through this legislation - we are finally giving them a voice."
"This legislation is a true testament to Marty's commitment to dismantle this criminal industry for good," said Governor Kemp. "By seeking justice for victims and holding bad actors accountable, we are sending a strong message that human trafficking has no place in Georgia."
Creating New Pathways for Record Restriction and Vacatur for Survivors
This legislation will create multiple pathways specifically for survivors of human trafficking to restrict access to their criminal records or secure vacatur, which is an order setting aside a judgment or proceeding. This legislation was developed in close coordination with Rescuing Hope and its Executive Director Susan Norris along with members of the GRACE Commission.
Closing Loopholes in Sex Offender Registry & Improper Sexual Contact Code
Last year, anti-human trafficking legislation (H.B. 281) strengthened penalties for pimping and pandering, making them felony offenses upon the second or subsequent conviction. Under current law, keeping a place of prostitution, pimping, and pandering are also felonies if the victim is less than eighteen years of age. However, Georgia’s sex offender registry code was never changed to require registration for any of those three offenses when they rise to level of a felony. In addition, a felony conviction for burglary with intent to rape was not listed as convictions requiring registration as a sex offender. Now, these felony convictions will require registration.
At the request of law enforcement, this bill closes a loophole in the “custodial sexual contact” code by adding the offenses of improper sexual contact by a foster parent in the first and second degrees. Consent is not a defense to any of the offenses listed in this code section. Those offenses include, but are not limited to, improper sexual contact between a teacher and student through twelfth grade, law enforcement officer and someone in his or her custody, and hospital employee and patient.
Imposing Lifetime Commercial Driver’s License Ban if Convicted of Trafficking
In accordance with a federal rule passed this summer through the U.S. Department of Transportation, this legislation will allow the Georgia Department of Driver’s Services to revoke a person’s commercial driver’s license (CDL) and permanently disqualify him or her from driving a commercial motor vehicle if he or she is convicted of trafficking an individual for labor servitude or sexual servitude in violation of O.C.G.A. 16-5-46 and used the commercial motor vehicle to commit the offense.
The legislation outlined above will be formally introduced in the coming days.