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Minnesota Legislature

Tougher sex trafficker penalties (new law)

Published (5/29/2009)
By Mike Cook
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As part of an overall effort to stop sex trafficking in the state, the criminal penalties will become more severe.

“Sex trafficking is not limited to foreign nationals. Girls and women are regularly trafficked every day in the state of Minnesota. The average age of a trafficked individual is 12 years old,” said Rep. Michael Paymar (DFL-St. Paul), who sponsors the law with Sen. Sandy Pappas (DFL-St. Paul). The changes are based on a report commissioned by Minnesota’s Human Trafficking Task Force.

The law, effective for crimes committed on or after Aug. 1, 2009, creates a first- and second-degree sex-trafficking offense that is similar to first- and second-degree sexual or domestic assaults. It calls for a 20-year felony for sex trafficking a minor and 15 years for sex trafficking any other person.

It also contains a provision for a 25-year sentence for a first-degree case with aggravating factors, such as repeat offenders, the victim suffering bodily harm during the offense, more than one victim is involved, or the time the victim was held in debt bondage or forced labor was for more than 180 days.

The definition of “prostitution in a public place” is clarified so it is consistent throughout statutes, and the law enhances the penalty for repeat prostitution-related violations in certain instances.

The law adds language to state statute that prohibits employer retaliation against a sex crime victim who wants to testify in court if they are a victim or witness to a crime.

HF1505*/SF1514/CH137

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