“Safe Harbor” Stalls – Your Help is Needed!
Thank you to everyone who has advocated for SB 554, “Safe Harbor”, a bill aimed to protect children in our Commonwealth who are sexually exploited by traffickers from becoming re-victimized in the juvenile justice system when they are arrested and prosecuted for prostitution and other “masking crimes” arising directly out of their sexual exploitation. Unfortunately, in late June, the bill stalled immediately before the house vote was scheduled.
Pennsylvania Lutherans have been working for years to advance legislation to further protect these vulnerable youth. Senate Bill 554 was passed unanimously by the Senate. It was poised for a vote by the full House in late June, but was held up at the last minute by Speaker Turzai. With only limited session days scheduled for the House in September, October and one day in November, time is running out before this session ends. If the bill is not voted on in this session the entire process begins again from scratch. Your help is needed.
We urge you to contact your representatives, especially if they are republican and seek their assistance to bring this bill to a vote in the fall. This non-partisan bill will assist hundreds of children each year throughout the state. We encourage you to make calls, write letters to the editor and visit your representative in their district office this summer. Click here to access LAMPa’s advocacy tool kit to assist you.
Don’t let another year go by without addressing this injustice. We urge you to contact your representative to support this vital legislation that would redirect child victims of sex trafficking into appropriate services. Sign onto our Safe Harbor Advocacy Alert or call, find your lawmaker’s phone number here Urge your House member to apply pressure to Speaker Turzai and Representative Reed(majority leader) and act quickly, so these most vulnerable children are spared further harm.
Thank you for your advocacy!