SENATE BILL REPORT
This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.
As of February 16, 2015
Title: An act relating to the trafficking of persons.
Brief Description: Concerning the trafficking of persons.
Sponsors: Senators Kohl-Welles, Darneille, Padden, Keiser, Conway, Chase and Hasegawa.
Committee Activity: Law & Justice: 2/16/15.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON LAW & JUSTICE
Staff: Melissa Burke-Cain (786-7755)
Background: Washington uses a multi-faceted approach to reduce human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. The criminal justice system pursues the criminals who profit from trafficking and holds them accountable. The social service, health care, and education systems support and care for trafficking victims and their families. Many nonprofit and community organizations across the state help trafficking victims with safe housing, transportation, and other necessities. State government has the challenging task of coordinating all of these efforts as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Social media and other emerging technologies serve an important purpose for the criminals in the business of sexual exploitation. Technology helps lure victims into the sex trade, and helps market the services to commercial sex consumers. The same technologies can help communities fight back through public education and by making resources available online to trafficking victims.
Currently Washington has a commercially sexually exploited children coordinating committee. The committee sunsets on June 30, 2015. Until June 30, 2004, Washington had a task force against human trafficking. The state's anti-trafficking efforts will improve by re-establishing the human trafficking task force and re-authorizing the coordinating committee for children exploited in the sex trade.
Summary of Bill: Information Clearinghouse. The Department of Commerce Office of Crime Victims Advocacy (OCVA) must create and maintain an information portal serving as the state government contact regarding human trafficking. The portal is known as the Washington State Clearinghouse on Human Trafficking. The clearinghouse must share and coordinate statewide efforts to combat the trafficking of persons. The clearinghouse must:
coordinate information on all statewide human trafficking task forces;
publish statewide task force reports;
maintain a comprehensive resource directory for trafficking victims; and
offer current, up-to-date state and federal news, legislative efforts, and information on human trafficking.
State Trafficking Task Force and Coordinating Committee. The OCVA must provide administrative support for the Washington State Task Force on the Trafficking of Persons (task force). This task force consists of 14 appointed representatives from public agencies and private organizations. The task force must:
measure and evaluate progress in the state's trafficking prevention activities;
identify local, state, and federal victims' services programs;
recommend systematic improvements to coordinate victim support services; and
report findings and recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature.
The commercially sexually exploited children statewide coordinating committee is authorized through June 30, 2017. The authorization continues the coordinating committee's current membership and duties.
Fiscal Note: Available.
Committee/Commission/Task Force Created: Yes.
Effective Date: Ninety days after adjournment of session in which bill is passed.