Arizona Attorney General

Mark Brnovich

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Summary of HB 2454

Background

  • Governor Brewer established the Task Force on Human Trafficking to examine existing state law in order to identify opportunities to strengthen Arizona’s stance against human trafficking.
  • The Task Force responded by suggesting amendments to existing law that include:
    • Increasing penalties against traffickers and Johns,
    • Addressing online trafficking advertisements by prescribing licensure disclosures and creating criminal and civil penalties,
    • Recognizing minor victims of human trafficking as victims under the law.
  • HB 2454 was signed into law April 22, 2014.

Provisions of H.B. 2454:

  • “Johns”
    • Adds the language “or should have known” to the section of the existing statute regarding a john who engages in prostitution with a minor who is fifteen, sixteen or seventeen. The addition of this language limits a defense that a “John” did not know he was engaging in prostitution with a minor.
    • Subjects all offenders who knew “or should have known” to punishment for Class 2 Felonies. Previously, if the State could not prove that “Johns” knew that the prostitute was a minor then the crime was punished as a Class 6 Felony.
  • Traffickers
    • Creates a higher sentencing range for traffickers in cases involving minors that increases the presumptive sentence:
      • From 10.5 years to 13.5 years for a first offense,
      • From 15.75 years to 24 years for a trafficker with a prior felony conviction, 
      • From 28 years to 31 years for a trafficker with two or more prior felonies.
    • Adds an aggravating factor if a trafficker obtained a victim from a shelter for runaway youth, foster care, homeless persons or victims of human trafficking, domestic violence or sexual assault.
  • Advertisements
    • Makes use of a visual depiction of a minor in an advertisement for prostitution a class 2 felony and a dangerous crime against children if the minor is under 15 years of age.
    • Creates requirement that licensed escorts, escort businesses, massage therapists, and massage therapy businesses must include their license number in any advertisement for services, as well as to keep on file proof of the age of anyone depicted in an advertisement for services. Failure to do so results in a civil penalty.
  • Victims
    • Adds an affirmative defense for victims of sex trafficking for the crime of prostitution.
    • Protects victims by limiting the amount of their identifying information released in court, court documents, as part of discovery, and to the general public.
      • Exceptions Include:
        • Compelling court need for information,
        • The victims’ name and general location of the reported crime,
        • Victims may give consent to release additional information,
    • Adds child prostitution, sex trafficking, and labor trafficking to the list of acts that constitute racketeering and allows anti-racketeering revolving fund monies to be used toward services for victims.