FRANKFORT, Ky. - Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear signed House Bill 3 Tuesday, which is designed to increase protections for victims of human trafficking.
The "Human Trafficking Victims Rights Act" is designed to target individuals who exploit children for sexual purposes by increasing penalties and prison sentences, according to a press release.
The legislation would provide training so victims, advocates and law enforcement officers may better recognize signs of human child trafficking.
"I'm proud to sign this bill, which will increase protections for victims and strengthen penalties against those who would commit these terrible crimes," Governor Beshear said in a press release. "This is an important bill, particularly for children, and I congratulate Rep. Sannie Overly for her tireless efforts to pass this legislation."
The bill allows police and prosecutors to seize assets of those involved in human trafficking, and earmark the proceeds from those seized assets to pay for victim services.
The bill also offers "safe harbor" protection, which allows human trafficking victims to receive treatment rather than jail time.
"I am proud to have sponsored this critical piece of legislation," said Rep. Overly, of Paris. "The incidence of trafficking children is growing at an alarming pace in Kentucky. I am hopeful this bipartisan effort to strengthen Kentucky's human trafficking laws will stem these terrible crimes."
"I thank everyone who was a part of this collaborative effort, and for the enormous support of Governor Beshear and my colleagues to pass this legislation to protect children," Overly said.