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Governor Welcomes Passage of Trafficking Bill

April 19, 2012, Juneau, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell today thanked members of the Alaska Legislature for passing his legislation protecting Alaskans from the horrific crimes of sex trafficking. House Bill 359, sponsored by the governor, makes it a serious felony for anyone to conspire to commit sex trafficking or human trafficking in the first degree. This legislation also raises the penalty for those who prey on and victimize Alaska’s children.

“I appreciate the Legislature’s careful consideration of this important bill,” Governor Parnell said. “I also want to acknowledge Senator McGuire and Representative Fairclough for their help in passing this bill. HB 359 will treat this activity as the serious felony offense that it is. Prosecutors will now have more tools to protect Alaska’s children against exploitation.”

Trafficking is a horrible crime that degrades dignity and violates the most basic human rights. HB 359 will change terminology used to describe an offender’s conduct as sex trafficking rather than promoting prostitution. The bill allows the state to confiscate property used in connection with committing the crime of prostitution when the defendant commits the act with a child victim. It also allows the use of simultaneous two-way video conferencing in cases where a witness is unable to testify in a courtroom.

Governor Parnell would also like to acknowledge Representative Herron’s remarks on the House Floor about how critical this bill is to protecting victims of trafficking.

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