Senator Kane Hails Signing Of Safe Harbor Legislation To Protect Sexually Exploited Teens

June 10, 2010

Senator Rob Kane (R-32) proudly stood with Governor M. Jodi Rell as she signed into law the landmark legislation he championed to protect sexually exploited children and young teens from the possibility of being legally prosecuted for prostitution.

“This is one my proudest moments as a state legislator. I truly believe that this new law has the potential to make a positive difference in the lives of children who have been sexually victimized by adults. These children need our care and our compassion, not the fear that they could be further victimized by the legal system by being charged with prostitution. I am grateful to Governor Rell for holding this signing ceremony, and delighted to have played a role in seeing this legislation become law,” said Senator Kane.

Senator Kane, the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 153, An Act Providing A Safe Harbor For Exploited Children, was joined at the signing ceremony by a number of advocates including representatives from the Chief Public Defender’s Office, Barnaba Institute, ECPTA-USA (The Campaign to End Child Prostitution and Trafficking) and the Center for Youth Leadership.

The newly signed Safe Harbor law, which will take effect on October 1, 2010, 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, the new Safe Harbor law 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.