COLUMBUS – State Rep. Jena Powell (R-Arcanum) gave testimony earlier this week at the House Criminal Justice Committee regarding her sponsored legislation, House Bill 415, the Prosecuting Trafficking Proceeds Act. The bill prohibits and enacts it as a crime for individuals to receive proceeds from human trafficking or prostitution.
“As we know, Ohio has the fourth highest rate of suspected human trafficking in the United States,” Powell said in her testimony. “Victims, often underage girls, are coerced and abused while their victimizer walks away with a profit.”
Powell has previously noted that the average age for someone to be trafficked in the United Sates is 12-years-old – an inspiration for the introduction of this anti-human trafficking legislation.
“This is not a Republican or a Democrat issue,” said Powell. “This is an issue of human dignity being trampled on by society.”
More specifically, the Prosecuting Trafficking Proceeds Act:
* Creates a new offense, “Receiving Proceeds of Prostitution,” making it illegal to receive money or any other thing of value earned by someone else for committing prostitution. Thus, connecting primps and traffickers to a crime if they knowingly receive anything of value from a sexual act for hire;
* Makes receiving the proceeds of prostitution a Felony 3 (if the victim is a minor, it is a Felony 2);
* Makes it easier for law enforcement and prosecutors to tie traffickers and pimps to illegal activity and return convictions for these heinous crimes.
“I believe it is so important and crucial to address the issue of human trafficking,” said Powell. “We must combat this injustice that happens to our most vulnerable within our state to ensure we protect every man, woman, and child within our communities.