This afternoon CSE Institute Director Shea Rhodes and Justice for Victims Senior Fellow Sarah Robinson had the honor of attending the ceremonial signing of Senate Bill 554, Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children (Act 130 of 2018), in Harrisburg. They joined Representative Joanna McClinton, a member of the CSE Institute Board of Advisors, and other advocates from the Pennsylvania Anti-Human Trafficking Advocacy Work Group, including representatives from Covenant House, Network of Victim Assistance, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Lutheran Advocacy of Pennsylvania, the Catholic Conference, and more. The efforts of each advocate were crucial to the passage of SB554, and we were thrilled to share in this celebration with them.
During the ceremony, they had an opportunity to personally thank Governor Wolf for passing this critical protection for children and to express gratitude to retiring Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Senator Stewart Greenleaf and Democratic Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Representative Joseph Petrarca, for introducing and supporting the legislation.
Safe Harbor protects sexually exploited children by immunizing them from criminal prosecution for prostitution and related crimes. Its passage signifies a true bipartisan effort that benefited from thoughtful negotiations among stakeholders such as the Department of Human Services and the Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Association.
The Commonwealth joins the majority of states in our country that also legally recognize there is No Such Thing as a child prostitute. The law will take effect before the end of the year. To learn more about Safe Harbor, click here.