House Republican Office
PLAINVILLE - State Rep. William Petit Jr., R-Plainville, joined legislative colleagues and advocates in calling for comprehensive anti-human trafficking legislation at a public hearing in March.
Petit spoke before the legislature’s Judiciary Committee during a press conference held by the Trafficking in Persons Council and the Commission on Women, Children and Seniors.
“It is critical to increase education in Connecticut in the form of public awareness,” said Petit. “Most people feel that human trafficking of children occurs elsewhere but it happens all over our state - in cities, small towns, rural and suburban areas.
“It is critical to care for the victims in these areas, that is, not to label them as prostitutes and lawbreakers when they have been coerced into these situations where they are mentally and physically abused.
“We need to stand up as a legislature and protect and care for these children who are victims. We must be their voices.”
Carolyn Treiss, president of the Permanent Status of the Commission on Women, also submitted testimony to the Judiciary Committee on the issue.
“The true perpetrators of prostitution-related crimes, the promoters and purchasers of sex, have not been a priority of law enforcement,” she said. “It is time that the crime of purchasing sex must be treated for what it is - an act of violence against women and children.”
The two bills, HB 7309 and HB 7310, seek to strengthen current anti-human trafficking laws specifically by increasing the penalties for anyone who patronizes a prostitute and requires those with a second offense to register as a sexual offender.
It also provides for the training of medical professionals to recognize the warning signs and signals that an individual may be the victim of trafficking.