Gov. Jindal supports toughening laws on sex trafficking - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Gov. Jindal supports toughening laws on sex trafficking

Governor Bobby Jindal Governor Bobby Jindal

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Human sex trafficking is the second-largest criminal industry in the world today. That's according to Gov. Bobby Jindal who backed a bill Tuesday that would toughen the laws on trafficking in the state.

Clemmie Greenlee is one of the many victims of human sex trafficking. Like so many others, Greenlee was forced to work against her will and was repeatedly arrested and charged with prostitution.

At a press conference in Baton Rouge Tuesday, Greenlee said, "I shouldn't have to go to jail over 100 times and the predator didn't have to do anything, not even go to a john school. That is not fair."

A new bill making its way through the Legislature aims to help women like as Greenlee. It would allow victims to file a motion to vacate a conviction for prostitution-related offenses. The bill, filed by State Rep. Neil Abramson of New Orleans, also says people who purchase sex and commit the crime with a minor must register as a sex offender.

Governor Bobby Jindal said Tuesday, "For those monsters that prey on innocent women and children, our warning is you don't want to do this in the state of Louisiana. You don't want to do this in our country or in the world but you certainly don't want to do this in the state of Louisiana."

Rafael Salcedo, Ph.D., has worked with victims of sex trafficking for years and is in the process of opening a home on the Northshore for victims to live in. He says until about four years ago, penalties were quite lax for pimps and johns. But the tide is turning. "It's taken awhile for these developments to take place because it's required a change in the way people think about this," said Salcedo.

Salcedo says now, men who are convicted of sex trafficking offenses can get up to 50 years in prison depending on the age of the victim.

Another bill Jindal is backing calls for district courts to designate a section or division of court just for human trafficking cases. Salcedo explains, "Similar to drug court or mental health court, the specialized training that prosecutors, that defense attorneys, that judges need, can be concentrated as opposed to having to reinvent the wheel in each case in the different parishes in Louisiana."

Salcedo says the proposals in both bills aim to help end this horrible epidemic - before it gets worse.

Clemmie Greenlee now works at a New Orleans shelter for sex-trafficking victims.

Rafael Salcedo says the state doesn't have enough options for young women to turn to when they finally escape from the sex trade, which is why he and his wife hope to soon open their own facility.

Copyright 2014 WVUE. All rights reserved.

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