Human Trafficking

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Protecting the youngest victims of human trafficking from further trauma is the goal of a bill making its way through Harrisburg. The “Safe Harbor” bill would identify child victims of human trafficking and protect those who’ve been forced to perform illegal acts from criminal prosecution.

East McKeesport's former public works director was convicted in a human trafficking sting on Tuesday.

Joseph Clemenic Jr., 44, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a child after an FBI probe revealed he paid an underage girl to come to his home to have sex in April, according to court documents. He is scheduled to be sentenced in November and could spend up to nine years in prison.

Human trafficking is the second largest criminal enterprise in the world, second only to drug trafficking, according the FBI.

Sex trafficking is the most common form of human trafficking, and in an effort to try and find and identify those involved in the crime, researchers at CMU are developing online tools that go after a major vulnerability for sex traffickers — the need to advertise.

Two weeks into the implementation of Pennsylvania's new law to crack down on human trafficking, supporters took a victory lap in the state Capitol rotunda.

The law clarifies what constitutes labor and sex trafficking, sets harsher penalties, and allows law enforcement to differentiate offenders from victims.

Despite years of criticism of the state’s asset forfeiture laws, Pennsylvania lawmakers approved a new human trafficking law that expands law enforcement’s ability to seize assets of the accused, without any statutory oversight of where seized property and proceeds end up.

New Legislation Redefines Human Trafficking

Jul 9, 2014

Special series: This week we're exploring legislative action taken recently in Harrisburg on important bills that were overshadowed by the passage of the state budget.

Proposed legislation to tighten Pennsylvania’s law against human trafficking would also expand law enforcement’s ability to seize the assets of people accused of the crime.

Greg Rowe is with the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, which helped write the measure that passed the state Senate and is before the House.

He said it adds “trafficking of persons” to the list of activities that can subject someone’s property to seizure.  

State Sen. Daylin Leach of eastern Pennsylvania is supporting two pieces of legislation designed to combat human trafficking in Pennsylvania.  

Leach said too often, minors are arrested for prostitution and treated as criminals when they are, in fact, victims.  

"They're forced into doing this by pimps and traffickers, yet the pimps and traffickers are never there when the person's arrested," Leach said. "So we charge the young lady and she has a criminal record, and she has to deal with that, whereas the person who's actually responsible faces no consequences."