Sen. Kane Hails Senate Passage Of Safe Harbor For Sexually Exploited Children Legislation

April 28, 2010

Bill Is Subject To Further Legislative Action By House of Representatives

Senator Rob Kane (R-32) hailed today’s Senate passage of legislation intended to protect children from potential legal harm resulting from sexual exploitation. Senate Bill 153, An Act Providing A Safe Harbor For Exploited Children, is now subject to further action by the House of Representatives.

“There should be no chance that a sexually victimized child in Connecticut can be prosecuted for prostitution. While Connecticut is fortunate to have law enforcement officials who do the best they can to ensure that sexually exploited children get the help they need, we should have a law on the books that explicitly protects these young victims from even the possibility of legal prosecution. The Senate did the right thing today, and I am hopeful that the House will now pass this important legislation,” said Senator Kane, the primary sponsor of the Safe Harbor For Sexually Exploited Children bill.

Under existing state law, prostitution is a crime regardless of the offender’s age. The proposed legislation would make prostitution a crime only for people age 16 and older. Furthermore, this bill calls for creating a presumption that 16- and 17-year olds alleged to have engaged in prostitution were coerced or enticed. Existing law does permit anyone accused of prostitution to assert that he or she was coerced by the use or threat of force as an affirmative defense. Also, this proposed legislation calls for increasing the penalty for promoting prostitution of persons younger than 18.

“No one wants to believe that there are adults in the world who sexually abuse or exploit children. Yet, to our sorrow, we know that it happens. Passing this legislation will help ensure that these young victims are not further harmed, even unintentionally, by our legal system. While law enforcement officials in Connecticut want to help, not prosecute, victims of sexual exploitation, it makes sense to have this law on the books as additional legal protection,” said Senator Kane.