Osten Testifies in Support of Crackdown on Human Trafficking
State Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) today gave her support to a proposed human trafficking bill that would prohibit motels from renting rooms by the hour and would require patrons to show positive identification when renting rooms, among other provisions.
House Bill 7309, “An Act Concerning Human Trafficking,” received its public hearing today before the legislature’s Judiciary Committee. The bill contains provisions that are similar to legislation put forth earlier this year by Sen. Osten in other proposed legislation.
“By barring motel or hotel operators from offering hourly rates, we can prevent instances of human trafficking in Connecticut that can occur at these places,” Sen. Osten told legislators. “In addition, hotel operators need to establish the identity of their patrons by asking to see a driver’s license, a passport, or some other form of ID with a photo. These two changes in tandem would have a huge impact on curbing the problem of human trafficking in Connecticut.”
Sen. Osten said the idea for banning hourly rates at motels came from the state Trafficking Persons Council, which has been meeting for years and making public policy recommendations to Connecticut legislators.
In Connecticut, a person is guilty of “trafficking in persons” when they compel another person to engage in sexual contact or to provide labor by means of force, threats, fraud or coercion. For many people, sex and labor trafficking bring visions of foreign places and people, but in reality, sex and labor trafficking are happening in Connecticut to Connecticut residents
In 2015, the state Department of Children and Families (DCF) received 133 referrals of youth who were at risk or confirmed victims of human trafficking; that number increased to 151 referrals in just the first nine months of 2016.
The Judiciary Committee has until April 7 to act on the proposed bill.