To The Daily Sun,
On June 7, House Bill 1628 was signed into law, "An act relative to human trafficking involving persons under 18 years of age". This new law will make it a crime for any person to pay to engage in sexual contact with a person under the age of 18.
This new law takes a very important step forward to protect children who have been subjected to sex trafficking by establishing felony convictions for individuals who pay compensation to engage in sexual activities with underage persons in New Hampshire.
As the prime sponsor of this House Bill, I am very gratefully to the Legislature for passing this proposal. This legislation will hold individuals responsible for soliciting sexual behavior accountable for their unacceptable acts of behavior placed upon a person under age 18.
Annually each state receives a rating which is based on the Protected Innocence Legislative Framework. This is an analysis of state laws performed by the American Center for Law and Justice and Shared Hope International, which sets a national standard of protection against domestic minor sex trafficking, reports New Hampshire's 2015 report card grade was a disgraceful D. I'm confident our rating will improve with HB 1628 now becoming law.
This new law is the direct result of combined effort with support from the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence, representatives from the New Hampshire police chiefs law enforcement community, and many concerned New Hampshire citizens. This will improve our enforcement standing and protections for woman and children going forward.
I wish to personally thank my colleagues in the House, Rep. Lachance, Rep. Hill, and Rep. Seidel, for their support in this initiative. On the Senate side, Senator Jeanie Forrester of Meredith was the prime Senate sponsor in supporting this legislation to protect all women and children.
We may think this issue is far away in Southeast Asia, Los Angeles, New York or other large cities, however, this horrible evil does happen right here in New Hampshire. We must all work together to eliminate it once and for all.
This most important law will ensure anyone involved in sex trafficking with any underage children will be held responsible for their actions. It will send a strong message that we have zero tolerance in New Hampshire for crimes against our children
In future legislative sessions all legislators and citizens should continue to work together to strengthen human trafficking enforcements. Each step is important to ensure protections for all sex trafficking victims.
State Rep. Brian S. Gallagher
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