ANNAPOLIS — Human trafficking moved one step closer to officially being recognized as a “crime of violence” in Maryland.
On Friday, the House of Delegates fell quiet as the electric board used to tally votes lit up with a wave of green “yes” votes, then broke into applause as a bill put in by freshman Del. Jesse Pippy (R-Frederick and Carroll) passed unanimously, 136-0.
In an overhaul of the state’s human trafficking laws, Maryland state’s attorneys are expected to more easily and clearly prosecute individuals who force, threaten, coerce or defraud people into prostitution, forced marriage or other sexual acts. The bill also takes away a defense that allows people to assert that they didn’t know a minor’s age when they trafficked them.