Rod Boshart
Published: February 13 2014 | 4:39 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 3:38 am in

A Senate Judiciary subcommittee is working on a measure seeking to tighten and toughen state laws on human trafficking, enticing or sexually exploiting a minor for prostitution. SSB3169 also could establish a $250 surcharge and a victim’s fund, but subcommittee members said they believed the surcharge would have to be increased considerably to be meaningful given the lucrative nature of the illegal human trafficking business. Michael Ferjak a senior criminal investigator for the Iowa Department of Justice’s human trafficking squad, said law enforcement agencies receive about 300 reports each month of missing children, many that are runaways. He said one in three youth on the street will be approached for sex in the first 72 hours and many are forced to resort to “survival sex’ for money. Kevin Kinney of the Johnson County sheriff’s office said it often takes up to eight months to “decontrol” girls who were enticed into prostitution and have been beaten or drugged by their exploiters. Subcommittee chairman Sen. Bob Dvorsky, D-Coralville, said he hoped to move the bill through the full Senate Judiciary Committee before next week’s “funnel” deadline to keep the issue eligible for consideration this session.

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