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Herron Comments on Passage of Human Trafficking Bil (HB 359)

Legislature passes Gov’s HB 359 on special session’s second day

Thursday, April 19, 2012, Juneau, Alaska – Representative Bob Herron thanked his colleagues in the House and Senate for passing the governor’s human trafficking bill today, clearing the first of three items on the special session proclamation.

Herron, D-Bethel, represents a community where the bill stands to make a difference. He relayed two stories to his peers in the House during floor debate on House Bill 359, reading into the record statements from Tundra Women’s Coalition Director Michelle Dewitt and Hooper Bay Tribal Administrator Franklin Napoleon. The leaders told of how young local women were preyed upon, and how stopping trafficking is just the first step.

“Helping victims, families and communities heal and process their grief has to come next,” Herron said. “It is good that we have decided that our weak trafficking laws have to be strengthened so to go after these ruthless flesh-peddlers and hopefully reduce the number of victims and victim families.

“But here is my question to all of us,” Herron said. “How do you prosecute these vile criminals for a second crime that without mercy instills misery, shame, fear, and the loss of human dignity?

“Then this question, how does anyone erase the memories of unspeakable acts of violence against these young girls and boys who must then endure and struggle with it for the rest of their lives?”

HB 359 passed both House unanimously and will be transmitted to the governor for his signature.

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