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March 22, 2024

Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Protections Against Human Trafficking Advances

Legislation would increase the statute of limitations for human trafficking

DENVER, CO - The House today advanced bipartisan legislation sponsored by Majority Leader Monica Duran in a preliminary vote to make it easier for survivors of human trafficking to hold their trafficker accountable in the criminal justice system.

“Human trafficking is a traumatic and violent experience, and three years is often not enough time for victims and survivors to feel safe enough to seek justice of their trafficker in the courtroom,” said Majority Leader Monica Duran, D-Wheat Ridge. “Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for victims of human trafficking to be forced or coerced into engaging in it themselves. Our bill would significantly extend the statute of limitations for victims to hold their trafficker accountable while also protecting them from being charged with a human trafficking crime if they were coerced into it. We’re prioritizing victims by removing barriers to justice and keeping human traffickers out of our communities.”

SB24-035, also sponsored by Assistant Minority Leader Ty Winter, R-Trinidad, would classify all forms of human trafficking, including involuntary servitude and sexual servitude as a crime of violence if the defendant uses or possesses and threatens to use a deadly weapon or if there is serious bodily injury or death. If deemed a “crime of violence”, it removes the possibility of parole. The bill also expands the statute of limitations from 3 to 20 years for adult trafficking crimes while leaving intact the current unlimited statute of limitations for child trafficking crimes. 

The legislature has passed numerous bills to support human trafficking victims and survivors, including legislation to protect sex workers from facing charges related to prostitution when reporting a crime (HB22-1288), strengthen rights and protections for agricultural workers (SB21-087), and increase penalties for an employer who refuses to pay wages (HB19-1267).

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