Reps. La Ha, Sanalitro, Keicher, and Stephens Present Protect Victims of Human Trafficking Legislative Package (Video)

Springfield, IL…Today, State Representatives Nicole La Ha, Jeff Keicher, Jennifer Sanalitro, and Brad Stephens held a joint press conference to introduce the “Protect Victims of Human Trafficking Legislative Package,” aimed at addressing the critical shortcomings in Illinois’ efforts to combat human trafficking and provide essential protections for victims.

“Illinois is failing to protect women and children in our state from human trafficking predators,” said Rep. La Ha. “We must address systemic failures and root causes that have allowed human trafficking to thrive in communities across Illinois. By strengthening victim protections, holding perpetrators accountable, and closing legal loopholes, we are sending a clear message: Illinois will not tolerate the exploitation and victimization of its residents.”

Recent reports on child and youth sex trafficking in Illinois have revealed alarming deficiencies in various areas crucial to protecting victims. With grades like F in Identification of and Response to Victims and Continuum of Care, and D in Access to Justice for Trafficking Survivors, the urgency of the situation cannot be overstated.

As House Republicans continue their battle against human trafficking, Rep. La Ha emphasized the importance of collaboration with anti-trafficking organizations and utilizing resources like the National Human Trafficking Hotline, the Illinois State Police, Reclaim 13, the Salt and Light Coalition, and more.

“Addressing human trafficking requires a comprehensive approach,” said Rep. La Ha. “Together, we can create a safer, more just Illinois for all its residents.”

Rep. Nicole La Ha has introduced the following bills as part of this legislative package:

HB 5134 seeks to amend the Sex Offender Registration Act to include trafficking in persons, involuntary servitude, and involuntary sexual servitude of a minor in the definition of “sex offense,” enhancing monitoring and protection measures.

HB 5466 proposes the removal of an affirmative defense for patronizing a minor engaged in prostitution, crucial for holding perpetrators accountable and safeguarding vulnerable minors.

HB 5467 addresses the statute of limitations for prosecuting trafficking offenses involving minors, ensuring that justice can be pursued at any time if the victim was under 18 at the time of the offense.

Representatives Keicher, Sanalitro, and Stephens have also contributed essential bills to the legislative package:

HB 5465: This bill allows minors in juvenile court to petition for immediate sealing or expungement of their records if their involvement in a crime was a result of human trafficking (Rep. Keicher).

HB 5468: This bill creates an affirmative defense for victims of human trafficking who commit an offense as a result of being trafficked. It requires the victim to prove by clear and convincing evidence that they are victims of human trafficking (Rep. Sanalitro).

HB 5469: This bill creates the Human Trafficking Order of Protection Act to allow victims of human trafficking to obtain orders of protection against their traffickers (Rep. Sanalitro).

HB 5470: This bill adds “patronize” to involuntary sexual servitude of a minor in order to ensure buyers are held accountable as sex trafficking offenders (Rep. Stephens).

Rep. Nicole La Ha is committed to fighting to end Human Trafficking. She proudly serves the people of the 82nd District and is grateful for this collaborative legislative effort between her and her fellow representatives.

Nicole La Ha is the State Representative in the 82nd District. She is not new to making a difference. Crowned Mrs. America in 2022, she has been an influential voice advocating for accessible community facilities and inclusive playgrounds for children with disabilities. As an author, Mrs. America, and on the Homer Glen Village Council, Nicole has a demonstrated track record of leading, advocating, and getting results for those in needResiding in Homer Glen with her husband and two children, Mrs. La Ha embodies the district’s values.