The Minnesota Legislature Safe Harbor legislation on July 20, 2011. This public safety bill includes protections for children who are commercially sexually exploited and clarifies that sexually exploited children are crime victims, not criminals.
- Includes the definition of sexually exploited youth in Minnesota’s child protection code;
- Excludes sexually exploited children under 16 from the definition of delinquent child;
- Creates a mandatory first-time diversion from arrest for any 16 or 17 year old who has been exploited in prostitution (where the child meets the criteria);
- Allows prosecutors to continue diversion or to proceed with Children in Need of Protection (CHIPS) petitions for 16 and 17 year olds coming through the system an additional time;
- Increases penalties against buyers of sex with adults from $250 to a minimum of $500 and a maximum of $750. The revenue these fees generate will be distributed to law enforcement, prosecutors, and service providers to serve sexually exploited children; and
- Directs the commissioner of public safety to work with stakeholders to create a victim-centered response for sexually exploited youth. (The Advocates for Human Rights)
On February 15, 2013 – The Advocates released a report analyzing Safe Harbor 2011, including the Safe Harbor Working Group process and the comprehensive approach to Safe Harbor which it developed, entitled Safe Harbor: Fulfilling Minnesota’s Promise to Protect Sexually Exploited Youth. Read the Report
Thursday, February 21, the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition (JRLC) Day on the Hill was held at the Xcel Energy Center and at the Minnesota State Capitol. Participants from all 67 Legislative Districts were briefed on four issues including Human Trafficking. The JRLC Human Trafficking reads in part: Support the “Safe Harbor—No Wrong Door” bill, SF 384 (Pappas); HF 485 (Allen), appropriating about $13 million over two years to form a network of specialized victim services. The bill also provides that 16 and 17 year old minors who are trafficked be treated as victims, not offenders. (JRLC)
A Member of the Anti-Human Trafficking Working Group of the Justice Commission of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates, Ann Redmond, CSJ has been involved in the Minnesota State Task Force, mandated by the Legislature that includes, advocates, service providers, attorneys, law enforcement and legislators. Sister Ann said, “the Safe Harbors Law is important because people at all levels have been involved in spelling out what is needed to achieve the goal of providing services to trafficked youth.”
Michele Garnett-McKenzie, Director of Advocacy, The Advocates for Human Rights stated that the Minnesota Safe Harbors Law is “at the forefront nationally in protecting exploited youth using a victim centered model.”
Posted by Ginger K. Hedstrom, Justice Associate
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