Oct. 25, 2022
—Legislation to fight sex trafficking fought for by Rep. Craig Williams (R-Delaware/Chester) has passed the House and now goes to Gov. Tom Wolf for his signature.
“I urge the governor sign this into law to protect our children,” Williams said.
Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward’s (R-Westmoreland) Senate Bill 118
, a companion bill to Williams’ House Bill 1130
(which passed the House in May 2021), would require sex traffickers and those who solicit the victims of human trafficking to register as sex offenders in Pennsylvania under the state’s Megan’s Law.
“As a former federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice and a former Chief Prosecutor for the Marine Corps Reserve who successfully prosecuted sexual assault and child-victim cases, I can assure you that few laws are as important in protecting potential victims from known sex offenders like Megan’s Law,” Williams said. “But to be effective, Megan’s Law must be routinely updated to include sex offenders not included under the law’s original language.”
Since 2007 there have been nearly 1,000 cases of human trafficking in Pennsylvania. This problem can’t be blamed on any one region, cases are being registered across the Commonwealth.
In 2019, Pennsylvania ranked fourth nationwide for the number of active criminal human trafficking cases being handled by the state's federal courts, and fourth nationwide for the number of convictions.
The average age of a child forced into sex slavery through human trafficking is 12 years old.
Megan's Law exists to protect the public, especially children, from victimization by sexual offenders by tracking the whereabouts of convicted sexual offenders and providing notification to the public of the presence of a sexual offender in their community.
“While sexual predators are renowned repeat offenders, human traffickers are notorious for operating in the shadows, and those shadows extend all across Pennsylvania,” Williams said. “That’s why it is especially important that we shine a light on those convicted of sex trafficking by requiring them to register as sex offenders. That way families across Pennsylvania will know who is living in their neighborhoods, just the way we should know about rapists and pedophiles.”