Bill signing ceremony for Senate Bill 6476: Sen. Stevens, the prime sponsor of the measure,
is standing to the governor’s left in the blue suit.
OLYMPIA…Washington will no longer be a safe place for those engaged in – or frequenting – the child sex trade. Sen. Val Stevens’ bill, which levels severe penalties for child-sex traffickers and buyers, was signed into law Tuesday. Senate Bill 6476 passed both houses of the Legislature by a unanimous vote.
“Starting in mid-June, the state of 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 now concentrate its efforts on the buyers and sellers of these children. Young teens are being abducted and forced into the sex trade and the Interstate-5 corridor between Vancouver, B.C. and Portland is one of the nation’s most heavily trafficked areas for child prostitution. This bill aims to make sex trafficking in Washington dangerous for both sellers and buyers.”
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 new law requires that these kidnapped minors be taken to a place of safety,” Stevens said, “where they can recapture their hope and their lives.”