Lawmaker pushes for tougher laws on human trafficking with new legislation

Since 2007 the National Human Trafficking Resource Center said they’ve gotten more than 1,700 phone calls regarding cases of human trafficking in Pennsylvania. “Human trafficking is a billion dollar industry worldwide and of course across this nation and Pennsylvania” said State Representative Ron Marsico. Here in the Commonwealth Marsico said the network of highways is frequently used by traffickers. That’s why he’s backing Senate Bill 75, which aims to close loopholes that currently exist.

“Any act of sexual servitude or any sexual act would be covered” said Marsico. If the bill becomes law then sex trafficking would become a first degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. That’s good news for the York YWCA Community Director Nicole Lindemyer who works with victims of human trafficking almost daily. “The average trafficking victim is a victim of sex trafficking, she’s a woman and she’s about 13 years old” said Lindemyer.

Lindemyer said they are often runaways that get taken advantage of. She’s supportive of Senate Bill 75, but said it still doesn’t create a plan for law enforcement to effectively share information. “Traffickers are smart. They will say oh Philadelphia’s cracking down lets move it over to Harrisburg. And if Harrisburg isn’t part of a statewide plan they won’t be able to combat it” said Lindemyer. However she did go on to say that the bill is a big step in the right direction and her organization is backing it. Representative Marsico said he hopes to have it signed into law by the end of June.