OLYMPIA – The Senate tried to strengthen laws against human trafficking Monday, approving a pair of bills that would crack down on sex crimes involving minors.
In the first of two unanimous votes, the Senate agreed to add a fine of up to $5,000 on top of other penalties for anyone convicted of paying for sex with a minor has used an internet ad to find the prostitute. The bill is a response to a court’s rejection of a law passed last year that tried to restrict and penalize the websites that carry the ads.
The Senate then passed a bill that would to expand penalties for against people who recruit minors to become prostitutes or those who patronize them.
The state needs to do what it can to prevent teens from being lured into the sex trade, said Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, who called human trafficking is the modern term for slavery.