|Public Safety Measures
House Bill 234
Did you know that the underground human trafficking
economy is the second largest black market in the U.S.? In Atlanta alone, this underground economy is estimated to be worth approximately $290 million a year. This activity is not isolated to any specific geographical location, nor does it target certain races or socioeconomic classes. Because of these staggering numbers, we have worked for years on strengthening our human trafficking laws
We continued these efforts through the passage of House Bill 234, also known as the Anti-Human Trafficking Protective Response Act. This bill, if passed, would authorize the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) to provide emergency care and supervision of any child who is the victim of human trafficking without a court order or consent of the parents or legal guardian. Further, the bill requires DFCS/law enforcement to take the child to an available victim services organization, certified by the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, to provide comprehensive trauma-informed services. Further, HB 234 limits the prosecution of prostitution to individuals who are 18 years of age or older.
House Bill 79
Last week, we took steps to protect Georgia families through the passage of House Bill 79, which would safeguard the rights of legally blind Georgians and their children. This bill would prevent courts, the Department of Human Services, and child-placing agencies from discriminating or denying child placement, custody, visitation, guardianship or adoption to an individual because he or she is legally blind. Exceptions are made under the bill to include that the interested parties above must have clear evidence that the welfare of a child is at risk before removing them from their legally blind parent or guardian. This bill passed the House unanimously and would protect the more than 202,000 blind Georgians from unfair biases that deny these families their basic right to stay together.
House Bill 247
We also strengthened penalties against individuals taking advantage of our elderly population through the passage of House Bill 247. This bill increases the criminalization all forms of battery against a person 65 or older to a felony. Further, this bill changes the definition of exploitation to include the illegal taking of resources belonging to a disabled adult or elderly person when access to resources was obtained due to the victim’s incapacity. This bill also allows law enforcement to conduct inspections of unlicensed personal care homes when acting as an agent of Department of Community Health.