House passes bill to protect child sex trafficking victims

JACKSON, Miss.  — The Mississippi House is advancing a bill designed to protect children who are victims of sex trafficking.

House Bill 571 would prevent charges from being filed against trafficking victims who are younger than 18. The minor would be taken into protective custody and counseling would be provided. Foster parents would be trained to help trafficking victims.

The bill passed the House without opposition Tuesday and was held for the possibility of more debate. It also must pass the Senate before it can go to Gov. Phil Bryant.

The Center for Violence Prevention in Pearl has a program that fights human trafficking. The center’s directory, Sandy Middleton, says it received 31 crisis calls and 85 referrals in 2018.

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