Kraft bill sets minimum $5,000 fine for sex trafficking conviction

A bill that would prohibit courts from waiving, reducing or suspending certain fees and fines charged to those convicted of sexual exploitation of children received a hearing Friday in the House Public Safety Committee.

Rep. Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver, the author of House Bill 1836, testified before the committee.

“It addresses the horrendous crime of sex trafficking for minors. This is all about protecting children and reducing the demand of sex traffickers,” said Kraft. “One practical way to do that is to make it more painful for those who would look to purchase a minor for sex by raising the amount of penalties.”

Current law provides for penalties of up to $5,000 for those convicted of commercial sexual abuse of a minor, promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor and/or promoting travel for commercial sexual abuse of a minor. An additional $5,000 penalty may be imposed if the internet was used to facilitate the offense.

“This bill simply removes the language from up to $5,000. Instead, they will pay a mandatory $5,000,” said Kraft. “And if the internet is involved, it's another mandatory $5,000.”

To address concerns about removing the court's discretion, Kraft said the bill is being amended to allow judges the discretion to impose fines of up to $7,500, with a minimum of $5,000.

The measure has been scheduled for executive action later this week.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov