NEW CANAAN, Conn. – A law strengthening existing anti-trafficking laws has been passed by the Connecticut State Legislature following a series of discussions initiated during the launch of Grace Farms Foundation’s Justice Initiative in the fall of 2015.
The Public Act No. 16-71 includes significant new measures designed to increase investigations and prosecutions of traffickers. Grace Farms Foundation, through its director of justice initiatives Krishna Patel, was involved in drafting amendments to the law, which were submitted to the Connecticut Trafficking in Persons Council for consideration.
This announcement comes seven months after the foundation’s opening of Grace Farms — a new center for nature, arts, justice, community and faith—in New Canaan.
Public Act No. 16-71 will bolster existing state trafficking legislation, expanding the age of the protected person in various statutes from 16 to 18 years old and requires each state’s attorney and municipal chief of police to report the number of investigations and prosecutions involving missing children in the state of Connecticut. Public Act No. 16-71 will also seek transparency supporting law enforcement’s efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking.
“We believe in the extraordinary capacity of communities to solve problems when they are empowered and equipped to do so and when they have the support and commitment from their government,” Patel said. “Now is the time for all of us to commit to tackling this heinous crime that occurs in the shadows, in our state and around the world.”
Other key amendments of the law require hotels, motels and inns to install signs displaying the trafficking hotline phone number, making Connecticut the first state in the country to do so and to maintain a system to keep records of all guest transactions and receipts for at least six months.
The law also initiates the annual reporting of referred trafficking cases, the development of hospitality staff training programs for identifying and reporting human trafficking, and expands trafficking offenses to include the use of computer services to entice a minor.