Arizona’s state representatives had an opportunity to close a major loophole in the protection of children and establish zero tolerance for buyers of commercial sex with minors who are 15-17 years old. They punted! Committee leaders did not call the bill for action. In fact, three pieces of legislation were introduced this session to combat domestic minor sex trafficking in Arizona (HB2411, HB2684, HB2687).
Two of these three bills never had the opportunity to be heard in the House or the Senate! We are here to say, it is not too late!
Arizona is ripe with traffickers and pimps who prey upon and exploit our children. Click here to read a a real story that gives a personal perspective on why this legislation is so important.
From 2005 to 2009 the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office secured convictions for 82 traffickers but only five buyers. Shared Hope International has conducted a legal analysis of Arizona state law and found that if the state can not prove that the buyer knew or had reason to know the age of the minor, the buyer can get off with a Class 6 felony (the lightest felony) and 180 days in jail. Even worse, the buyer could have the option to attend an education or treatment program to lower the sentence to 90 days in jail.
Join Shared Hope International in calling on your Arizona state representatives to pass legislation this session to remove the defense for those who buy children for sex. Let them know that, if they choose to stand on the side of excused exploitation, they can expect us to oppose them vehemently with our votes and our checkbooks.
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