All Female Legislators Sign Landmark Bill

June 10, 2013

Hartford, CT – State Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) was joined by all her female colleagues in an unprecedented show of bipartisan cooperation in May. Sen. Boucher, along with her 54 female colleagues, showed remarkable leadership in co-sponsoring legislation (eventually co-signed by several male colleagues) to combat human trafficking.

House Bill 5666; AN ACT CONCERNING THE FORFEITURE OF MONEYS AND PROPERTY RELATED TO SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING, combined two other bills on the same topic, HB 6696 and SB 1158. Spearheaded by Rep. Betsy Ritter and Rep. Rosa Rebimbas, the unanimous consensus and relative ease with which the bill made it through both chambers bespeaks a unilateral intolerance for the crime of trafficking in humans.

“It is important for us to stand up as human beings for those who are too frightened to stand up for themselves,” said Sen. Boucher. “It is a modern day form of slavery mostly targeted at young vulnerable women. We must protect these innocent girls and be a voice for them in this ongoing fight to end an unimaginable horror.”

Among its provisions, HB 5666 will:

  • Increase criminal penalties for persons patronizing a prostitute under the age of 18;
  • Allow the Superior Court to vacate criminal convictions for prostitution involving victims of human trafficking;
  • Lower the burden of proof for sex trafficking minors;
  • Require the forfeiture of criminal assets derived from commercial sexual exploitation of a minor;
  • Add funds and property related to prostitution and 3rd degree promoting prostitution to the types of property subject to forfeiture as tainted funds and property related to sexual exploitation and human trafficking;
  • Require public awareness and education about services for human trafficking victims; and
  • Direct the Trafficking in Persons Council to identify further deficiencies in general statutes and report to the Judiciary Committee by 1/2014.

“The PCSW is extremely gratified by the leadership and commitment shown by members of the Women’s Caucus,” said PCSW Executive Director Teresa Younger. “It’s fair to say this bill is historic, and we’ve heard from friends across the country that eyes are on Connecticut for this rare show of unity. They were able to cut through partisan gridlock to do the important work of protecting Connecticut citizens, and especially women and girls, who make up about 80 percent of modern day slaves. The Commission looks forward to working with our female legislators, and our male colleagues at the Capitol, on future legislation to improve the status of women in our state.”