House approves Kraft bill to increase fines against sex traffickers

The state House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill Wednesday offered by Rep. Vicki Kraft that would prohibit courts from waiving, reducing or suspending certain fees and fines charged to those convicted of sexual exploitation of children.

“Under current law, if someone is convicted of committing a sexual offense with a minor, they could be fined up to $5,000, depending upon what the court decides,” said Kraft, R-Vancouver. “To reduce demand of this heinous crime, we need to make sure those that are doing these acts to children feel the pain. Because they're never going to feel the level of pain that those children have felt from the heinous act done to them.”

Under House Bill 1836, those convicted of commercial sexual abuse of a minor, promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor, or promoting travel for commercial sexual abuse of a minor would be required to pay a mandatory fine starting at no less than $3,500 and up to $7,500. The court would still have the discretion to decide what amount is appropriate.

“This bill is intended to reduce the demand for sex trafficking. The fines could also be used for prevention, intervention and services for victims,” added Kraft.

The measure now heads to the Senate for further consideration.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov