The Governor signed new protections for victims of human trafficking into law. Many of these protections will go into effect in July of this year.
Senate File 2311 will increase penalties on perpetrators of human trafficking crimes, create additional resources for victims of human trafficking, and provides additional means to stop human trafficking.
The bill increases the statute of limitations for a variety of sexual offenses committed against a child. The crimes of purchasing the services of a prostitute or offering or enabling prostitution of anyone under the age of 18 is increased, assuring that any of these criminals is a felon.
Victims of human trafficking will have access to additional resources under these new provisions. The bill creates a new $1,000 surcharge on human trafficking offense. These surcharge funds will then be placed in a new Human Trafficking Victims Fund. The fund will be used to provide services for victims of human trafficking and to increase public awareness and create more training related to stopping human trafficking.
In addition to these new funds, if a victim is less than 18 years old, there are new protections to allow victims of child prostitution to be treated as a child in need of assistance and provide help by the Department of Human Services and allowing expungement of any offenses for anyone under the age of 18 for certain sex crimes.
Finally, the bill provides new means to stop human trafficking. The Iowa Law Enforcement Academy is required to report to the Legislature what resources the training academy is devoting to stopping human trafficking. The Legislature also included fixes to assure that the means of human trafficking can be properly controlled. There is clarification of what enticing a minor can include to reflect new uses of technology that can be used to prey on youth, and the powers of the Attorney General are expanded to assure that wire taps can be used for human trafficking investigations.
On April 24, 2014, State Representatives Deborah Berry (D-Waterloo), Dan Kelley (D-Newton) and Sharon Steckman (D-Mason City) witnessed Governor Branstad signing Senate File 2311, combating human trafficking.