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Ashley Moody Challenges Effort to Weaken Human Trafficking Laws

Last week, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody challenged efforts to weaken laws against human trafficking, sexual abuse, assault and exploitation.

Along with 36 other attorneys general, Moody called on the American Law Institute (ALI) to reject proposed changes to Section 213 of the Model Penal Code (MPC) that would weaken the ability of states to prosecute these crimes, jeopardize the safety of victims and restrict the ability of law enforcement to protect the general public. The proposed amendments to the MPC are a departure from federal statutes, and the majority of state laws, that would negatively affect victims of human trafficking and sexual assault. The amendments also pose significant risks to the public by relaxing the requirements for the Sex Offender Registry.

“We have made great strides in our fight to end human trafficking, but these proposed changes to the Model Penal Code could undermine our progress in holding traffickers accountable. Today, I am challenging these amendments to the code that would leave victims of these heinous crimes more vulnerable and pose a serious risk to others. We cannot let soft-on-crime policies affect the safety of our citizens,” Moody said.

In a letter to the ALI, the attorneys general argued that: “The current draft rejects decades of progress made in anti-trafficking enforcement. It departs from applicable federal statutes, and the majority of state laws, that have been carefully constructed by subject matter experts, are supported by data, and rely on the experience of sex trafficking survivors. The proposed revisions to the MPC not only limit the criminal liability of traffickers, but also eliminate any liability for those who buy and use trafficking victims for their own sexual gratification, as well as third parties who knowingly profit from this exploitation.”

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In addition to limiting the criminal liability of traffickers, the proposed amendments to the MPC eliminate all public access to sex offender registration information, severely reduce the types and number of offenses that require registration and undermine the effectiveness of the sex offender registration and notification programs.
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Along with Moody, the attorneys general of the following states and territories signed onto the letter: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.

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