Senator Kane Discusses New Safe Harbor For Sexually Exploited Children Legislation With Connecticut Commission On Children

May 12, 2010

Senator Rob Kane (R-32) recently participated in a meeting of the Connecticut Commission on Children to discuss newly adopted legislation he proposed that is designed to protect sexually exploited children and young teens from the possibility of being legally prosecuted for prostitution.

“Connecticut is not the first state to have passed safe harbor legislation and, hopefully, it will not be the last. It is my hope, and the hope of the many advocates and supporters who worked hard to pass our bill, that all states ultimately have laws on the books that legally recognize sexually exploited children as victims who need help, not punishment,” said Senator Kane, the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 153, An Act Providing A Safe Harbor For Exploited Children.

Senator Kane was one of several legislators who attended the meeting called by the Connecticut Commission on Children to discuss the impact of the 2010 Legislative Session on the state’s children and families. The 25-member Connecticut Commission on Children was created by the General Assembly in 1985 to promote public policies that are in the best interest of children. The commission includes members representing all three branches of government and the private sector.

The newly passed Safe Harbor legislation, which has been sent to Governor M. Jodi Rell’s desk, will take effect on October 1, 2010. It makes prostitution a crime only for people age 16 and older. Furthermore, it calls for creating a presumption, one that must be rebutted by the prosecution, 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 newly adopted increases the penalty for promoting prostitution of persons younger than 18. Finally, it specifies that, in any prosecution for patronizing a prostitute or promoting or permitting prostitution, a defendant cannot assert that the person engaging or agreeing to engage in sexual conduct for a fee cannot be prosecuted for prostitution because of his or her age.