Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal today signed off on four bills that crack down on human trafficking, stiffening penalties for the perpetrators and providing more protection for victims.
Just last week, a man and two women were arrested in Natchitoches Parish and charged with human trafficking, along with other related charges, after a Robeline law enforcement officer came in contact with a female attached to a logging chain around her and a bucket at a business near the Intersections of Interstate-49 and University Parkway (La. Hwy 6 West) near Natchitoches.
Although the victim lived out of state and voluntarily moved in with the couple, she soon was given a list of daily chores to complete, including serving meals, drinks, taking care of animals, leveling dirt for a swimming pool, installing a swimming pool, digging trenches, removal of fallen trees and performing sexual acts. Detectives also learned if the victim failed to perform any assigned duties, she was subjected to beatings and discipline.
Jindal, who was joined by several organizations that work to protect victims of human trafficking, including Christine Caine, founder of the A21 Campaign, an international organization that works to fight human trafficking and raise awareness about its underground nature.
In addition to the new laws, Jindal said $250,000 was put into the state budget for the development and implementation of a human trafficking training course. The course is designed to help law enforcement better understand the signs of human trafficking, as well as help officers learn how to combat the activity.
Victims are often lured in by a controlling criminal who promises them a chance at a
better life – such as a job, an education or simply a loving relationship in place of the family they do not have. These criminals use physical abuse, threats, lies manipulation and false promises, degrading their victims as human beings nd treating them as property.
State Rep. Neil Abramson (D-Dist. 38) of Orleans Parish, the author of House Bill 1025, a 37-page document that creates harsher punishments and provides better tools for cracking down on human trafficking and sex related offenses. He said the new law “will build upon our previous efforts to put an end to human trafficking in Louisiana.
The bill targets those purchasing sex by creating the crime of “unlawful purchase of commercial sexual activity,” and requiring a person who commits the crime with a minor to register as a sex offender. In addition, it expands the present crimes of human trafficking and trafficking of children for sexual pruposes to include the act of receiving, isolating and enticing another person in order to engage in sexual services of labor.
The legislation also expands the definition of “racketeering activity” to include pornography involving juveniles, computer-aided solicitation of a minor, prostitution, persons under 18, soliciting for prostitutes, inciting prostitution, promoting prostitution, letting premisis for prostitution, enticing persons into prostitutions, keeping a disorderly place, letting a disorderly place and operation of places of prostitution.
Other bills signed today include one authorizing district courts to designate a section or division of court to human trafficking crimes; another requiring posting the hotline for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center in outpatient abortion facilities; and another that requires that a woman getting an abortion be provided with coerced abortions and human trafficking.