[BOISE] – House Bill 494, the re-write of Idaho’s Human Trafficking laws, passed the Idaho Senate unanimously (35-0) on Wednesday, March 20th.  The bill had previously passed the Idaho House unanimously (70-0) on March 5th.

“The crime of human trafficking leaves a trail of victims and is an absolute stain on our communities,” said Attorney General Raúl Labrador.  “When my office was tasked last year to write a report on this topic, we discovered many ways to improve our statutes to assist law enforcement, prosecutors, and victims of this terrible crime.  I’m grateful to the legislature for their unanimous support of my recommendations, and I look forward to playing a more active role in assisting our local law enforcement partners who are already combatting human trafficking.”

House Bill 494 addresses necessary changes identified by the Attorney General’s Criminal Division to give key tools to law enforcement in their efforts to combat human trafficking, both labor trafficking and sex trafficking.  The goals of these revisions make Idaho’s human trafficking laws more victim-centered which includes a change in language from “prostitution” to “commercial sexual activity” and an affirmative defense to providing commercial sexual activity that the alleged perpetrator was the victim of human trafficking. The changes also give law enforcement clearer and more effective statutes for investigation and prosecution and establish state-level resources for addressing human trafficking.   This bill will also allow prosecutors to seek forfeiture once a defendant has been convicted of human trafficking to ensure the trafficker does not profit from the illicit activity.