Georgia governor signs new anti-human trafficking laws

Tuesday, Governor Kemp signed into law Georgia’s latest efforts to end human trafficking.

Per The Atlanta Journal Constitution:

It’s not often that a priority of Gov. Brian Kemp’s office gets unanimous approval from Georgia lawmakers. It’s even rarer that the measures pass repeatedly without a single “no” vote.

But that’s been the case with Kemp’s efforts to crack down on human trafficking, a push driven largely by his wife, Marty Kemp, who worked with lawmakers to craft and promote the legislation.

With the first lady at his side Tuesday at the Home of Hope, which provides services for homeless children and their young mothers, the governor signed into law Georgia’s latest efforts to end the crime.

Senate Bill 33 allows victims or state officials to sue for damages against traffickers and “bad actors” who know about the crimes, while Senate Bill 34 lets victims seek a name change privately.

A third measure, House Bill 287, would have initially required students starting in kindergarten to learn about the risks of tobacco use and vaping. But at the urging of a local Girl Scout troop, lawmakers agreed to add a provision that educates students starting in sixth grade about human trafficking.

All passed unanimously, following earlier human trafficking measures that passed with virtually no opposition.

“As I’ve told folks every session, some of the only bills that ever get unanimous passage are Marty’s,” Kemp said to laughs from a crowd gathered outside the Buford facility. “I’m still very confused by that, and believe you me, she reminds me often of that.”

Marty Kemp said her push to target human trafficking crystallized shortly after her husband’s election while attending an event at Atlantic Station, where victims’ advocates sent 72 school buses on a route from Midtown Atlanta to downtown to create a mile-long moving billboard to bring attention to the crime.

“It’s a heinous crime. I don’t think anybody can argue that. I hope not,” said the first lady, who helms the Grace Commission to vet ideas. “So it’s certainly bringing both sides to the table and talking about how we can make Georgia better and help the ones that are vulnerable.”

The measures reflect an approach to criminal justice that has put punishing sex traffickers and gang members at the center of the governor’s agenda. He’s signed a hate-crimes measure after nearly two decades of legislative gridlock and is set to overhaul the state’s Civil War-era citizen’s arrest law.

Kemp said it hasn’t been hard to persuade lawmakers to join the effort, which could next year involve measures to protect traumatized victims as they move from transitional housing to more permanent homes.

“This is everywhere. It’s in Clayton County and in Clay County,” he said. “There is no prejudice when it comes to human trafficking. It’s literally happening all over the country and the state.”

Anyone with information or suspicions of human trafficking should call the state hotline at 1-866-ENDHTGA, where they can speak with trained law enforcement agents, advocates and first responders.

1 year, 2 months ago

Governors in Iowa, North Dakota and Alabama join GOP colleagues in banning TikTok for state employees

The Republican governors of three more states have joined the growing number of GOP governors who are banning TikTok among state government employees amid security concerns about the Chinese-owned social media platform

1 year, 2 months ago

Arizona Governor Creates Shipping Container Border Wall

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has had hundreds of double-stacked shipping containers topped with razor wire placed on the state’s border with Mexico

1 year, 2 months ago

Stacey Abrams’s Georgia Nonprofit Could Face Criminal Investigations for Unlicensed Fundraising

New Georgia Project's charity license has lapsed in at least nine states

1 year, 2 months ago

Biden says ‘more important things’ than border visit, despite 59 trips to Delaware, 8 stops for ice cream

Biden has yet to visit southern border despite historic crisis under his watch

1 year, 2 months ago

Governor Kristi Noem delivers annual Budget Address, says the state can afford grocery tax cut

In about thirty minutes of remarks, Governor Kristi Noem laid out her administration would like to see nearly $2.2 billion spent over the course of the next fiscal year and a half.

1 year, 2 months ago

‘A Clear And Present Danger To Its Users:’ South Carolina Gov. Bans State Employees From Using TikTok Amid National Security Concerns

South Carolina became the second state in the union Monday to permanently ban state employees’ electronic devices from using TikTok amid federal officials sounding the alarm that the Chinese-based social media app threatens national security