Rep. Deanne Mazzochi Sponsors Bipartisan Legislation to Strengthen Penalties against Human Traffickers

State Representative Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst) is leading the fight to increase penalties for those who would engage in human trafficking of underage children in Illinois.

“While Illinois relies on its transportation expertise for economic growth, one dark side of this efficiency is that our network attracts a criminal element as well, said Mazzochi, Chief House Sponsor of HB 5079. “We have long known that human trafficking occurs in Illinois, and that there is a type of predator who targets those who are underage. When other states have enhanced penalties, and Illinois does not, that gives perverse incentives to exploit children here in our state. We need to send a clear message that forcing people- often young girls- into involuntary servitude through human trafficking, will not be tolerated and that those who engage in this despicable crime will face a very severe penalty,”

HB 5079 would amend the Criminal Code to increase penalties for Class X human trafficking offences to 12-30 years of incarceration. The bill also adds the offense of involuntary sexual servitude of a minor to the definition of sex offenses for sex offender registration purposes, and provides victims with enhanced opportunities to seek justice through civil suits.

“Under today’s Sex Offender Registration Act, those convicted of involuntary sexual servitude do not have to register as a sex offender, and we need to fix that,” Mazzochi said. “Illinois right now has some of the shortest minimum sentences for some forms of human trafficking. In this day and age, this is not an area where Illinois should be lagging behind, and our prosecutors need more leverage to ensure predators stay behind bars.”

The Chief Co-Sponsor of HB 5079 is Rep. Carol Ammons (D-Champaign).