OLYMPIA…Sen. Val Stevens’ bill leveling severe penalties for child-sex traffickers and buyers in Washington will now go to the governor’s desk for signature after the Senate this morning agreed with changes made to it last week in the House of Representatives. Senate Bill 6476 had passed both houses of the Legislature by a unanimous vote.
“This bill sends a strong message that Washington will actively prosecute anyone who forces a minor child into sex slavery or who buys their services,” said Stevens, R-Arlington. “Law enforcement will no longer focus on arresting the child prostitute. It will concentrate the arrests and severest penalties exactly where they belong: on the buyers and sellers of our children.”
“The Interstate-5 corridor between Vancouver, B.C. and Portland is one of the nation’s most heavily trafficked areas for child prostitution,” said Stevens, R-Arlington. “This new law will make sex trafficking in Washington much less appealing.”
SB 6476 raises penalties for the promotion of commercial sex abuse of a minor (“pimping”) to a Class A felony, carrying a 7- to 26-year prison sentence and a maximum $5,000 fine. The bill also elevates commercial sex abuse of a minor (buying) to a Class B felony, with a 1.75- to 12-year sentence and an additional $5,000 fine.
“This bill requires that these kidnapped minors be taken to a place of safety,” Stevens said, “where they can recapture their hope and their lives.”