Jackson, Miss. – On Wednesday, the Mississippi Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 2156. The legislation targets the trafficking of children by implementing three recommendations from Gov. Phil Bryant’s Human Trafficking Task Force.
The bill mandates:
• Amending the definition of an “abused child” to include children who are victims of human trafficking, regardless of the relationship of the trafficker to the child. This will unlock the full range of services provided through the Mississippi Department of Human Services via access to the Youth Court Act.
• Requiring a person convicted of procuring services of a prostitute to register as a sex offender where the prostitution involves a child under 18 years of age.
• Including and clarifying the definition of “coercion” within the Human Trafficking Act.
“Trafficking a child offends every part of a decent and civilized society,” Gov. Bryant said. “I said in my Inaugural Address that this administration would do everything possible to stop this behavior and punish those who engage in it. I am grateful for Sen. Sally Doty’s hard work on this bill and appreciate the Senate quickly passing it. I urge the House to do the same.”