Stevens introduces legislation to combat child trafficking

Today Sen. Val Stevens said she has introduced a bill to help stop the sexual exploitation of children. The Arlington Republican’s announcement came at a news conference as she stood with a bipartisan group of legislators, all of whom are working toward ending human trafficking in Washington.

“I have always stood adamantly against the buying and selling of human life that unfortunately we know goes on in our state. Every year we must enact legislation to make sure we can punish those who take the innocence of children,” Stevens said.

Senate Bill 6258 would expand the criminal definition of “luring” unaccompanied minors to include transportation facilities.

“Many pimps use bus terminals to lie in wait for unaccompanied minors arriving in a new city. They approach these children pretending to be a friend and offer a ride or place to stay. In reality, these evil individuals are often the first contact into the world of human trafficking,” Stevens said.

The bill would also expand the definition of “negligent treatment of a child” to cover situations in which a parent allows a child younger than 14 to travel unaccompanied.

“Parents need to be responsible for their children’s well-being, and buying them tickets to travel without supervision is unacceptable. Airlines have procedures in place to protect unaccompanied minors, but a bus driver is not responsible for guardianship of children who are passengers. It is too easy for a child to be abducted on a cross-country trip, and we need to make sure parents are held accountable,” Stevens
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