HARRISBURG – Legislation authored by Rep. Marci Mustello (R-Butler) that would strengthen current law by adding certain prohibited activities which constitute the crime of unlawful contact with a minor unanimously passed the House today.
“Whether we like it or not, human trafficking is happening in our backyards, and we must put a stop to it,” said Mustello. “Now more than ever, children need protection from predatory criminals who turn the vulnerability and desperation of their victims into big business. My bill helps to protect minors.”
Mustello’s legislation, House Bill 2176
, is one of a package of bills passed by the House designed to guarantee the well-being of victims, protect their privacy and make it safer for them to testify against their abusers. Legislation in the package would increase penalties for anyone knowingly patronizing a victim and anyone connected to trafficking victims. Other bills would assist victims and aim to increase resources and protections.
To view Rep. Mustello’s comments on the House floor, click here
Traffickers often prey upon children in the foster care system. Recent reports have indicated that many U.S. victims of child sex trafficking were at one time in the foster care system. These crimes often remain hidden because victims are reluctant to seek help for a variety of reasons, including language barriers, fear of traffickers and law enforcement, and lack of trust.
“A woman was recently arrested on human trafficking charges in Butler County,” said Mustello. “I want our community to be safe! We must see the urgent need to step up efforts to combat this crime. I am pleased that my bill protects the well-being of our children.”
The 11th Legislative District in Butler County includes the city of Butler; Chicora, Connoquenessing, Fairview, Karns City, Petrolia, Prospect and Saxonburg boroughs; as well as Butler, Clearfield, Connoquenessing, East Butler, Donegal, Fairview, Jefferson, Oakland and Summit townships.
Representative Marci Mustello
11th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Rick Leiner
717.260.6437 (office), 717.497.8478 (cell)