COLUMBUS—State Senator Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) joined colleague State Senator Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton) today to introduce legislation aimed at providing common sense criminal justice reforms to give victims of human trafficking an opportunity to rebuild their lives.

The legislation complements a series of bills passed over the last several years focusing on the eradication of human trafficking through better enforcement, increased penalties for perpetrators and greater public awareness. 

“It is my goal to provide victims of human trafficking hope and opportunity as they begin to pull their lives back together,” said Senator Kunze. “It's important for our state to remove needless barriers to obtaining employment."

Convictions stemming from coerced behavior, such as prostitution, can negatively impact the victim's ability to apply for a job or seek permanent housing. A defendant’s information is still accessible as a court record even when the individual was found not guilty, or the case was dismissed.

Senate Bill 4 offers hope for human trafficking victims. If an individual commits certain crimes as a result of his or her victimization, this legislation would allow for expungement of those offenses from the victim's criminal record. 

Additionally, the bill would permit victims of compelled prostitution to apply for intervention in lieu of conviction, an option that is afforded to human trafficking victims under current law.

“We've made significant strides in working to address the human trafficking problem in Ohio, but more can be done,” said Senator Oelslager. “It is important that we continue to advocate for victims and to offer assistance to help these individuals rebuild."

Senate President Larry Obhof today appointed Senator Kunze as Vice Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Transportation, Commerce and Workforce. 

Click here for a complete list of Senate Committee assignments for the 132nd Ohio General Assembly. 

 
 
 
  
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