The Legislature has been working on Safe Harbor initiatives to improve the response to sexual exploitation of young people in recent years.
The Minnesota Statewide Human Trafficking Task Force has been assessing other opportunities to address the impact of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation in Minnesota. One such reform was recently passed off the Senate floor, and will include recommendations developed by the Task Force in 2014.
The bill will set limits on the release of law enforcement investigatory records to protect the identity of sex trafficking victims. It also prohibits the requirement of a polygraph test as a condition of reporting a crime, as is the case for any sexual assault victim. Additionally, the bill updates the statutes addressing attempts to hire a minor for prostitution, and allows evidence of being a labor or sex trafficking victim as an affirmative defense in a charge of prostitution. Finally, the bill extends existing restriction of ownership of an adult business to include individuals convicted of sex trafficking, and extends the existing statute of limitations for prosecuting sexual assaults to include sex trafficking.
In addition to the Minnesota Statewide Human Trafficking Task Force, these reforms are endorsed by the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault. These reforms are included in the House-approved omnibus public safety bill.
The bill passed off the Senate Floor after its third reading. It is currently in the House Omnibus Public Safety Bill, and the Senate will need to accept the language. (S.F. 1270)