Eye on the Legislature

February 5, 2018

House Bill 18-1018:  Human trafficking continues its cruel and in humane scourge in these modern day times, something that seems incomprehensible to this writer. HB 1018 represents another step taken by legislators towards curtailing human trafficking.
HB 1018 requires the Department of Revenue through the Division of Motor Vehicles, “to promulgate rules requiring commercial driver schools to include training on the recognition, prevention and reporting of human trafficking.” The significant requirements the department must incorporate are:

  • collaborate with organizations that specialize in the recognition and prevention of human trafficking and other state agencies when promulgating these rules; and
  • publication of information about human trafficking in a manner that is likely to be read by licensed commercial drivers or people training testing performed by third-party testing organizations is conducted by the Driver Testing and Education Unit in the Driver License Section of the Division of Motor Vehicles. Training and education performed by these third-party organizations is overseen by the Division of Private Occupational Schools in the Department of Higher Education.  

   Colorado’s Commercial Driver License Manual now carries an ad published by the Truckers Against Trafficking regarding human trafficking.
Sponsors of House Bill 18-1018:  Representatives Terri Carver (R-El Paso) 866-2191 and Dominique Jackson (D-Arapaho) 866-3911; and Senators Rachal Zenzinger (D-Jefferson) 866-4840 and John Cooke (R-Weld) 866-4451.
House Bill 18-1021: One of the most disheartening and sad aspects of going to downtown Denver is the number of homeless people. There are probably no words to describe the frightening daily life the youth and children segment of this group suffers.
HB 1021 defines “youth who is experiencing homelessness” as a youth who is at least eleven years of age but is less than twenty-five years of age,” and:

  • who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence; or
  • who has a primary nighttime residence that is a supervised, publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations, other than a publicly or privately operated accommodations that has a primary purpose of detaining or otherwise imprisoning an individual pursuant to an act of Congress or a state law; or
  • a public or private place not designed for, nor ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

From the HB 1021 – the General Assembly finds and declares that:

  • More than eighty-three thousand youth between the ages of fourteen and twenty-four are homeless in the United States;
  • The most vulnerable segment of Colorado’s population, children and youth, are experiencing homelessness at an increasing rate;
  • Homelessness has a significant negative impact on the well-being of individuals, particularly those who experience it at a young age; and
  • Unaccompanied children and youth who experience homelessness experience significant immediate and long-term trauma.

      HB 1021 creates within the Department of local affairs  the “Task Force concerning youth who are experiencing homelessness.” The Purpose of the Task Force is to examine Colorado’s current system of care and services for youth to prevent and end homelessness for youth, and must convene on or before July 1, 2018 and meet at least six times prior to June 30, 2020.
HB 1021 also transfers the Office of Homeless Youth Services by a Type 2 transfer to DOLA from the Department of Human Services.
Sponsors of House Bill 18-1021:  Representative Edie Hooton (D-Boulder) 866-2915; Senator John Kefalas (D-Larimer) 866-4841.
Senate 18-084: “Concerning Enhanced Protections for Minors Who Are Victims of Human Trafficking,” HB 084 establishes further protection to “protect minors who are victims of human trafficking of a minor for involuntary servitude and human trafficking of a minor for sexual servitude (minor who is a victim of human trafficking).” The fiscal impact statement notes that according to the Department of Health and Human Services, very few counties have human trafficking-specific services.
SB 084 is the Senate’s effort in aiding some of Colorado’s most vulnerable populations affected by human trafficking – children and youth (especially homeless and runaway youth) – are particularly at risk of being trafficked for sex and involuntary labor, according to the legislative declaration of the Colorado General Assembly.
The Senate’s legislative declaration further finds and declares:

  • Human trafficking is a serious problem in Colorado and across the nation;
  • Children and youth are forced into involuntary servitude and commercial sexual activity are more properly identified as victims and not as criminals; and
  • Human trafficking in all forms creates a cycle of violence and impacts victims, families and communities.

   The declaration further notes that the “diverse systems that touch these children’s and youth’s lives, [such as]professionals in the child welfare, law enforcement, treatment, nonprofit and faith-based communities must collaborate to develop a multidisciplinary approach to protect children and youth who are victims of human trafficking.” Such emphasize the real need for prevention, protection, prosecution and partnerships, and deserve the recognition as victims rather than criminals – a benefit for the children and youth involved in human trafficking and therefore in the public interest.
Here is what the Senate further intends with SB 084:

  • offer pathways that direct victimized children and youth away from juvenile delinquency by making available to those children and youth appropriate and comprehensive rehabilitative services;
  • offer protection and provide consistency in the treatment, care and support of children and youth who are victims of human trafficking so they may continue to heal from the traumatic environment of being trafficked in a restorative justice manner; and
  • help create a safe haven for children and youth who are victims of human trafficking to come forward without fear and identify their traffickers and perpetrators.

   These definitions apply to a victim of human trafficking under SB 084:

  • only persons over the age of 18 may commit the offense of prostitution;
  • creates a presumption that a minor who engages in conduct that would be prostitution if committed by an adult is a victim of human trafficking;
  • minors must be referred to the county department of human or social services for care and services;
  • the term sexually exploited minor is clarified to state that a juvenile who committed a delinquent act while a victim of sexual exploitation of a child, or human trafficking of a minor for involuntary servitude or sexual servitude is not considered a juvenile delinquent; and
  • if probable cause exists that a person who was a sexually exploited minor and is charged with an offense related to human trafficking of a minor while he or she was a victim of human trafficking, he or she is immune from civil liability or juvenile delinquency proceedings for that offense.

Sponsors of Senate Bill 18-084:   Senator John Kefalas (D-Larimer) 866-4841; Representatives Lois Landgraf (R-Elpaso) 866-2946, and Paul Lundeen (R-El Paso) 866-2024.

The reader's comments or questions are always welcome. E-mail me at doris@dorisbeaver.com.