COLUMBUS – On Saturday, Governor DeWine signed into law House Bill 431, legislation sponsored by State Reps. Cindy Abrams (R-Harrison) and Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Twp.) that protects child sex trafficking survivors and enacts the offense of engaging in prostitution.
“After being assigned to the Cincinnati Police Department’s Vice Unit, it’s been one of my priorities to fight human trafficking in our state and provide the necessary protections for victims, especially minors,” said Abrams.
H.B. 431 eliminates Ohio’s current two-tiered system in child sex trafficking laws. Under current law, prosecutors are required to demonstrate fraud, force or coercion for 16 or 17-year-old trafficking victims in order to qualify for protections available to other minors. The bill removes this requirement and brings Ohio law into compliance with federal law.
Among other provisions, the legislation also enacts the offense of engaging in prostitution in which a person is prohibited from recklessly inducing, enticing or procuring another to engage in sexual activity for hire. Under the bill, the offense is a first degree misdemeanor, and the offender is required to attend an education or treatment program and may pay a fine up to $1,500.
“This new law will make a significant difference in the lives of children who have experienced the horrors of human trafficking,” added Abrams.