Kemp has made targeting sex trafficking a key part of his second legislative session in office. As lawmakers returned to Atlanta last week to kick off the 40-day session, the governor and first lady unveiled a new training program to help identify victims of the crime.
The course was designed by members of the Georgians for Refuge, Action, Compassion, and Education Commission that the governor created shortly after his election to combat the crime. Kemp said his office's employees have completed the program, and he encouraged every state employee — roughly 80,000 of them — to do the same.
In his first months in office, Kemp also signed legislation that increased penalties for those convicted of pimping or pandering, gave the state new powers to provide emergency care for a child victim and broadened the definition of criminal gang activity to include the crime.
The governor cast this year’s proposals as building on that framework. The legislation would require people convicted of prostituting, pimping or pandering underage victims to register as sex offenders, along with those convicted of felony burglary with the intent to rape.
It also would restrict some people accused of improper sexual contact of an underage victim of claiming consent as a defense. The legislation would apply to foster parents accused of assaulting a child in their custody, as well as several other limited circumstances.
"Today is important," said Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, the No. 2 Republican in the Georgia House. "It's one big step to what will be many steps toward ending a scourge that the governor has referred to as modern slavery."