Senator Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) and Senator Betsy Close (R-Albany/Corvallis)
are introducing legislation to fight the purveyors of the sex trade in Oregon and protect its victims.
Both Senators believe that by working across party lines and with organizations like Shared Hope
International, the legislature can pass legislation to protect minors from the commercial sex trade.
"This is an issue of safety and justice," said Close. "When you hear the stories and statistics
surrounding this modern slave-trade, it cries out for action. I think Republicans and Democrats
together can take a stand for the victims of sex trafficking."
It is easier to not confront the horrors associated with an issue like Oregon's sex trade," said Close.
"We would prefer to think something this terrible couldn't happen in our state. But it is happening,
and to ignore it is to be complicit in it. It is our responsibility to not only be aware but to act in the
defense of sex trafficking victims, and to fight for its end."
Oregon recently received a "D" in a report card from Shared Hope International, an organization
dedicated to fighting sex trafficking. The report outlines several flaws in Oregon's sex trafficking law.
Close plans on working with Senator Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) to push legislation closing the
loopholes and ending sex trafficking in Oregon.
"We want to end the menace of sex trafficking in this state," said Johnson. "By making some changes
to Oregon law, this legislature can help prevent trafficking from happening, prosecute it vigorously
when it does, and give its victims hope."
Legislative concepts proposed by Shared Hope International and introduced by Close and Johnson
deal with criminalizing domestic minor sex trafficking, increasing sentencing allowances for
consumers, suppliers and facilitators of sex trafficking, providing greater protection for child victims
of sex trafficking and giving investigators and prosecutors additional tools