Kentucky may soon join a small but growing number of states enacting laws to protect juvenile victims of the sex trade. House Bill 3 would restrict authorities' ability to charge minors with offenses related to prostitution and require minors suspected to be involved in prostitution receive social services.
If the bill passes, the state will join 11 others with "safe harbor" protections. Florida passed legislation last year treating trafficked children as dependents rather than delinquents. New York was the first to approve safe harbor protections in 2008. Kentucky passed its first human trafficking law in 2007, making it a felony to force someone into labor or commercial sexual activity. The safe harbor proposal is part of a larger bill that would strengthen the 2007 statute and expand services.