‘Safe Harbor’ legislation sent to governor

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Legislation to prevent child victims of human trafficking from criminal prosecution is headed to Gov. Tom Wolf for his signature.

Senate Bill 554 cleared the General Assembly on Wednesday.

The measure provides immunity when sexually exploited children are forced or coerced to commit crimes, and it diverts those children from the justice system to child protective services.

Police would be required to report encounters with sexually exploited children to the Department of Human Services. The department would work with county agencies to provide the children with needs such as housing, education, employment, health care, and counseling.

State Sens. Stewart Greenleaf (R-Bucks/ Montgomery) and Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) said their bill also would establish a fund for sexually exploited children. The fund would be supported by fines assessed against people convicted of human trafficking and related crimes.

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