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Senate Passes Legislation to Fight Against Human Trafficking in Georgia

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Sen. Shawn Still (RJohns Creek) proudly carried critically important legislation focused on Human Trafficking and Sex Crimes pass with unanimous, bipartisan support on the Senate floor, Senate Bill 512 and Senate Resolution 616.

“Today’s passage of SB 512 and SR 616 marks a pivotal moment in our fight against human trafficking in Georgia,” said Sen. Still. “With the creation of the Victims of Human Trafficking Fund and Commission, we’re taking proactive measures to support and empower survivors, hold perpetrators accountable and prevent future exploitation. Together, we’re sending a clear message: in Georgia, we stand united against human trafficking, and we’ll continue working tirelessly to protect the most vulnerable among us.”

Legislation for SB 512 aims to create a Human Trafficking Victims Fund for people of all ages, whereas current laws only support minors with victim fund support. Further, it would shift the burden of accountability from minors convicted of misdemeanor sexual solicitation to the adult in respective scenarios. Lastly, this measure pushes Georgia hotels and motels to efficiently train their employees — specifically housekeeping and temporary employment agency staffers — by utilizing materials published by the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC). The CJCC training package includes educational material on identifying and reporting signs of human trafficking.

Also attached to SB 512 is a Human Trafficking Victims Fund constitutional amendment, SR 616, which would activate SB 512’s fund for victims to receive care, rehabilitative and social services for individuals in Georgia. This constitutional amendment would need to be approved by Georgia voters on the ballot in November.

Sen. John Albers (R–Roswell) applauded the passage of these measures, stating, “As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Safety, I am proud to see SB 512 and SR 616 pass with unanimous support. These critical measures represent a comprehensive approach to combating human trafficking in Georgia, addressing everything from victim support to law enforcement tools. I commend Sen. Shawn Still for his leadership on this important issue, and I’m confident that we will continue to make strides in safeguarding our state from these heinous crimes.”

“Both of these bills meet a crucial need in Georgia,” said Bob Rodgers, the President & CEO of Street Grace — a nationwide anti-trafficking organization that utilizes evidence-based demand reduction strategies to eradicate the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children through prevention, protection, policy and pursuit. “Traffickers will find it much harder to operate if we train hotel staff, adult survivors will have access to resources through the Fund, and accountability will be placed where it should be when it comes to the exploitation of minors—on the adult exploiter. I appreciate Sen. Still for his work on these measures.”

You can find more information on SB 512 here and more information on SR 616 here. These measures will now be sent to the Georgia House of Representatives for further consideration.

More information on the CJCC can be found here; and more information on Street Grace can be found here.