Legislation cracking down on sex trafficking to go before Pennsylvania House committee

Kristen Johanson
January 13, 2020 - 5:48 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It’s Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and Pennsylvania’s House Judiciary Committee Tuesday will be looking at a package of bills which would strengthen laws against sex traffickers and specifically, Johns — those who buy sex.  

Over the years, Pennsylvania legislators have expanded and strengthened prostitution laws while clearly defining other pieces, like not charging children who have been prostituted.

"Any policy or reforms to protect sex trafficking victims and survivors and to shrink the market has to address the demand: those individuals who buy sex," said Shea Rhodes, director and co-founder of the Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation at Villanova University’s School of Law. 

She’s advocating for a package of bills which cracks down specifically on Johns and changes some of the language used in the crimes code.

"Focusing clearly on the fact that our legislature recognizes that demand is what drives the market for traffickers to sell their human commodity," she said. 

And that’s what forces others into the trade.

"Those buy sex, sex buyers, are the ones who are driving the market for traffickers to be in business," she added.

Another bill calls for convicted pimps to go through a sexual violence rehabilitation program.