State News

Attorney General Wilson Urges ALI to Reject Amendments that Leave Victims of Sex Crimes Vulnerable, Put Children at Risk

Joins bipartisan coalition of 37 AGs challenging efforts to weaken laws against human trafficking and sexual abuse, assault, and exploitation

Attorney General Alan Wilson is part of a bipartisan coalition of 37 Attorneys General who wrote a letter to the American Law Institute (ALI) urging them to reject a proposal that would weaken human trafficking laws. The proposed changes to Section 213 of the Model Penal Code (MPC) would weaken the ability of States to prosecute sexual assault, abuse, exploitation, and trafficking crimes; jeopardize the safety of victims of these crimes; and restrict the ability of law enforcement to protect the general public from recidivist behavior.

“These proposed changes are hard to believe because of how much they favor criminals and hurt victims and survivors of sex trafficking,” Attorney General Wilson said. “We’re continuing to fight human trafficking and, instead of helping, these proposed changes would undo a lot of what we’ve accomplished.”

“As attorneys general, we urge the ALI to consider the danger the proposed changes would pose to the public, especially children, and abandon its plans to amend this article of the Model Penal Code …,” wrote the attorneys general. “The revisions contemplated fail to treat sex predators appropriately and would provide them more freedom to commit these heinous crimes, putting the citizens we represent at greater risk of becoming victims.”

 Among the changes being considered by the ALI:

Regarding Sex Trafficking:

  • Removes “advertising” and “obtains” as predicate acts that can be used to establish trafficking.

    • Excludes criminal liability for those who knowingly benefit from their participation in sex trafficking.
  • Requires Government prove buyer knew, but recklessly disregarded, fact that victim was under 18 years old.
  • Mandates identifying a trafficker to establish crime of child sex trafficking has occurred.
  • Excludes criminal liability for sex trafficking for buyers of commercial sex with minors.

Regarding Sex Offender Registries:

  • Removes the following crimes as offenses that require registration:

o Kidnapping and attempted kidnapping

o Online enticement

o Sex trafficking

o Child sexual abuse material crimes (possession/distribution/production of child pornography)

o Sexual assault of minors older than 12 years of age

o Sexual assaults that do not involve force or restraint

  • Would permit only government law enforcement agencies to access registry information – there would be no public access and no access by non-profit organizations for prospective employees/applicants.
  • Removes key identifiers from registry requirements, including:

o Date of birth

o Fingerprints and palm prints

o DNA sample

o Driver’s license/identification card information

o Passport information (which would eviscerate provisions of

International Megan’s Law)

o Internet identifiers

  • Offenses of sexual assault by physical force or sexual assault of an incapacitated person are not registrable – offenders are required to register only if the offender was previously convicted of a felony sexual offense.
  • Registration for sexual assault of a minor is limited to crimes where the victim is less than 12 years old and the offender is 21 years old or older.
  • Registration for incestuous sexual assault of a minor is limited to crimes where the victim is under the age of 16 years old.
  • Renders failure to register a misdemeanor.

The letter was signed by the attorneys general of Mississippi, Hawaii, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia, and West Virginia.

A copy of the letter can be found here.

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