The Cabrini Action and Advocacy Coalition joined with advocates from all over Pennsylvania at the Capitol Building in Harrisburg on Tuesday, June 9th, to visit legislators to discuss Senator Greenleaf and Senator Leach’s upcoming Safe Harbor Bill to protect minors who have been trafficked.
What does Safe Harbor do?
S.B. 851 would require law enforcement to report to the Department of Human Services any encounter with a minor who has been subject to sexual exploitation. The Department will develop and implement a state-wide protocol to deliver safe long-term housing, education, life-skills training, and counseling to the children who have been exploited. The bill would require that police be trained to identify and assist sexually exploited children. Most importantly, the bill would require that sexually exploited children be diverted from the criminal justice system to more appropriate human services.
Senator Daylin Leach (shown at podium) said, “There is no such thing as a child prostitute. There are only victims and survivors of child rape. S.B. 851 would establish a non-punitive response for juvenile sex-trafficking victims, and provide them with support to address their trauma and specialized services, which would be partially funded through enhanced penalties for traffickers, facilitators, and patrons of prostitution wherein the victim was a minor. Juveniles involved in sex-trafficking are already considered crime victims under international and federal law. Pennsylvania must advance anti-human trafficking reforms such as this legislation to protect these innocent children.”