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Bartlett commends passage of anti-human trafficking legislation

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INDIANAPOLIS - State Rep. John L. Bartlett (D-Indianapolis) today praised the Indiana House of Representatives for the passage of House Bill (HB) 1081, which will increase punishments for human traffickers and safeguard minors.

Bartlett is a co-author of HB 1081. The bill will expand who can be charged with human trafficking crimes and magnify the penalty for human trafficking involving a minor from a Level 5 felony to a Level 4 felony. 

On top of this, the bill amends the definition of a “protected person” in the Indiana Code to include victims who are under the age of 14 at the time of the crime and orders local, county and state law enforcement agencies to report human trafficking investigations to the Attorney General within 30 days.

“I am delighted to see that the House has passed this crucial piece of legislation,” Bartlett said. “With its passage we have increased the penalties for human traffickers and added protections for many of our most vulnerable.”

Bartlett has made combating human trafficking a top agenda item during his tenure in the House. According to the 2020 Indiana State Report on Human Trafficking, modern slavery is a growing problem in Indiana, with the state seeing an 18% increase in cases between 2018 and 2019.

“Human trafficking continues to be the silent scourge that is having devastating impacts on communities in every corner of our state,” Bartlett said. “After years of working on this issue, we are making significant progress toward tackling this crisis. I urge the Indiana Senate to swiftly move this bill onto Governor Holcomb’s desk.

“I will continue to do all I can to raise awareness for the hundreds of Hoosier families affected by these heinous crimes every year. Protecting the most vulnerable in our society should not be a partisan issue.”

HB 1081 passed the House by a vote of 93-0.

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