Legislation targeting sex traffickers gains final passage

Georgia senators gave final approval Thursday to legislation that would toughen penalties and fines against sex traffickers.

Senate Bill 8 and the accompanying Senate Resolution 7 would require convicted human traffickers to register as sex offenders, and pay into a new Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund to help victims with housing, health care and other services.

The bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Renee Unterman of Buford, is known as the Safe Harbor/Rachel’s Law Act in honor of a sex trafficking victim who testified during a hearing earlier in the legislative session.

SB 8, with the House’s changes, passed the Senate with a 50-2 vote. The resolution, establishing a funding plan for the Safe Harbor Fund, passed 46-3, but it first must be approved by voters before taking effect.

The fund would be paid for with a new $2,500 fine levied on convicted traffickers, as well as an annual $5,000 fee on adult entertainment establishments.

The legislation now heads to the governor’s desk for signing.

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