Victims of sex trafficking have better protections under a new law sponsored by Senator Sue Rezin (R-Peru) and signed by Governor Pat Quinn.
“The victims of sex trafficking are those who are forced into lives of involuntary prostitution,” said Rezin. “They should not be punished by the same laws enacted to protect them.”
The legislation, SB 3558, amends current solicitation statues to bring them in line with the Illinois Safe Children Act. The new law ensures that solicitation of a sexual act, trafficking in persons, involuntary servitude, promoting prostitution, and patronizing a prostitute offenses do not apply to a person younger than 18 engaged in prostitution, as those are often the actual victims of sex trafficking.
The legislation also redirects dollars from fines collected from certain sex, prostitution, and pimping offenses to create a new fund to offer specialized services for victims of sex trafficking.
“We need to make sure those responsible for sex trafficking, the pimps and ‘johns,’ are held accountable,” said Sen. Rezin. “This will put money from their convictions directly toward ending these terrible crimes.”
The legislation was an initiative of End Demand Illinois, an advocacy group focusing on helping the victims of sex trafficking, while holding the purchasers or ‘johns’ accountable.