Diamond bill to help underage sex trafficking victims becomes law

Posted: May 24, 2019 | Senator Diamond

AUGUSTA — A bill introduced by Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, became law on Sunday, May 19, 2019. The bill, LD 548, “An Act To Prohibit a Person under 18 Years of Age from Being Charged with the Crime of Engaging in Prostitution,”  targets sex traffickers and encourages victims to get help by prohibiting those under 18 years of age from being charged with the crime of prostitution.

“We must do everything we can to get sex trafficking victims the help they need,” said Sen. Diamond. “This new law will make it easier for children who are victims of sex trafficking to come forward and report their abusers.”

Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth, is a cosponsor of Sen. Diamond’s bill.

“This bill is a common-sense measure to help victims of human trafficking, not saddle them with a criminal record,” said Sen. Breen. “I am pleased that this bill became law, allowing these boys, girls and women to seek help without fear of being prosecuted.”

LD 548 amends Maine statute to ensure that minors can come forward to report abuse without fear of being charged with a crime. Children who engage in prostitution are the victims of human trafficking and sexual abuse, and are less inclined to seek help if threatened with prosecution.

The bill will go into effect 90 days after the legislature adjourns sine die.