(AP) — State legislators gave their final approval Friday to a bill
toughening Indiana's penalties for sex trafficking, sending it to Gov.
Mitch Daniels for him to sign into law ahead of next weekend's Super Bowl
House voted 93-0 in favor of the measure, which cleared the state Senate
on a 48-0 vote earlier this month.
say the bill would make it easier to prosecute sex trafficking cases
involving victims younger than 16 and broaden the law for cases with older
the bill sought to have it approved before the Feb. 5 Super Bowl, citing
increased levels of prostitution that have accompanied many major sports
events around the country.
Welch, D-Bloomington, said most people didn't understand the seriousness
of the human trafficking problem and that it was important for legislators
to send the message the "Indiana does not stand for that type of abhorrent
The bill makes
recruiting, transporting or harboring anyone younger than 16 for
prostitution or other sexual conduct a felony punishable by 20 to 50 years
in prison. It also would bar defendants from arguing a child consented to
the sexual activity.
The bill also
makes it illegal for anyone to sell or transfer custody of a child for
sexual activity. Current law only mentions a child's parent, guardian or
Foley, R-Martinsville, pointed out that the measure covers more than those
trafficked for prostitution, but also instances in which people would be
enticed into the country by promises of jobs only to be essentially held
state Attorney General Greg Zoeller had asked legislators to approve the
tougher measures so they could be used in any Super Bowl-related cases.