Governor Kitzhaber has signed two key pieces of sex trafficking legislation, Senate Bill 425 and House Bill 2714, into law.
HB 2714 levies a fine of $10,000 for a first time conviction of purchasing sex from a minor. The fine rises to $20,000 following a second conviction. The bill also distinguishes the crime of patronizing prostitution from offering prostitution. Currently, both are the same crime and classified as a Class A misdemeanor. Also under the bill, johns will no longer be able to declare as a defense that they did not know that a victim was under 18 year of age.
Senate Bill 425 similarly eliminates a commonly used defense for traffickers who claim ignorance of a victim’s underage status. This bill would remove that defense for traffickers who sell sex with underage minors. SB 425 also includes key language from an amendment that Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman proposed.
The additional language include the words “aids or facilitates” into the Compelling Prostitution statute, so that if a pimp’s actions in any way aids or facilitates a child into trafficking, he could be held guilty to Compelling Prostitution.
“For too long, pimps have used the legal language to say that they did not ‘induce or cause’ a girl into trafficking. They say that they were merely helping her post an ad online or giving her a ride,” said Commissioner Saltzman. “Both this bill and House Bill 2714 send the message that exploitation of children will not be tolerated in Oregon.”
Senate Bill 425 was introduced by the Senate Judiciary Committee and was championed by Representative Carolyn Tomei (D-Milwaukee). Representative Tomei also introduced House Bill 2714.