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3/8/2017 Senator Coyne takes aim at human trafficking with comprehensive legislation
STATE HOUSE — Seeking to enhance Rhode Island’s ability to investigate and prosecute the crime of human trafficking, Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence) has introduced the Uniform Act on the Prevention and Remedies for Human Trafficking.

The bill (2017-S 0073) would establish penalties and remedies and would make human trafficking and human trafficking for purposes of sexual servitude, forced labor, and commercial sexual activity felonies punishable by imprisonment and fines.

“Rhode Island has been working hard in recent years to put an end to human trafficking within our own state” said Senator Coyne, who is a retired lieutenant with the State Police. “But because human trafficking investigations usually involve a victim who has been brought far from home to be forced into some kind of service, these cases often involve more than one state. They get more complicated when Rhode Island’s human trafficking laws are different from those of the other states involved. My legislation would make our laws mirror a national model that other states are also adopting to help us work together so we can be more effective in stopping this horrific crime and rescuing its victims.”

This act would also establish a Council on Human Trafficking for the prevention of such offenses and would establish programs to assist victims and would make victims eligible for compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act.

Senator Coyne said she sponsored the legislation because it will better enable investigators and prosecutors to capture and punish those who commit human trafficking.

“Human trafficking is a widespread problem in the United States and Rhode Island, and it takes an enormous toll on the lives of its victims, many of whom are very young. Enhancing Rhode Island’s ability to coordinate with other states is an important way to ensure that perpetrators of this terrible act are not able to slide through the cracks caused by differences in states’ laws. We owe it to their victims to do our very best to bring them to justice and to prevent others from being victimized in the future,” she said.

The legislation, which is cosponsored by Senators Elaine J. Morgan (R-Dist. 34, Charlestown, Exeter, Hopkinton, Richmond, West Greenwich), Frank S. Lombardi (D-Dist. 26, Cranston), Paul V. Jabour (D-Dist. 5, Providence) and Stephen R. Archambault (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, North Providence, Johnston), has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Similar legislation (2017-H 5300) has been introduced in the House by Rep. Shelby Maldonado (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls).

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903