Anti-Human Trafficking Legislation

Protecting victims of human trafficking is a top priority for Illinois House Republicans during the Spring 2024 Session. The Caucus is fighting this epidemic head-on with a robust bill package that provides protections to individuals who have fallen victim to human trafficking. The legislative package includes bills sponsored by Reps. Jeff Keicher (R-Sycamore), Nicole La Ha (R-Homer Glen), Jennifer Sanalitro (R-Hanover Park), and Brad Stephens (R-Rosemont).

Human trafficking is defined as a form of modern-day slavery.  In 2021, the National Human Trafficking Hotline identified 243 human trafficking cases in Illinois, with 355 victims reported. 

Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some labor or commercial sex act. These acts include victims of all ages, races, and genders. The victims can be lured into these situations by violence, manipulation, false promises of well-paying jobs, or romantic relationships. 

House Bill 5465, introduced by Rep. Keicher, allows a minor in juvenile court to petition for immediate sealing or expungement of their records if the offense came as a result of human trafficking. This is a follow-up to Public Act 103-35, also introduced by Keicher, passed by the General Assembly, and signed by the Governor.  

House Bill 5466, introduced by Rep. La Ha, removes the defense of mistaken age for the offense of patronizing a minor engaged in prostitution. House Bill 5467, also from Rep. La Ha, removes the statute of limitations for prosecutions of involuntary servitude, involuntary sexual servitude of a minor, or trafficking in persons and related offenses when the victim is under 18 years of age at the time of the offense. In addition, House Bill 5134 from Rep. La Ha requires those convicted of trafficking in persons, involuntary servitude, and involuntary sexual servitude of a minor to register as a sex offender. 

House Bill 5468, introduced by Rep. Sanalitro, creates a defense for victims of human trafficking who commit a crime because of being trafficked. The law requires the persons who are harmed to prove they are victims of human trafficking. Rep. Sanalitro also sponsors House Bill 5469, which creates the Human Trafficking Order of Protection Act. This Act allows victims of human trafficking to obtain orders of protection against their traffickers. 

Rep. Stephens sponsors House Bill 5470, which adds additional language – “patronize” – to involuntary sexual servitude of a minor to ensure buyers are held accountable as sex trafficking offenders. 

2023 report card on Child and Youth Sex Trafficking from Shared Hope sheds light on Illinois’ progress when it comes to sex trafficking. Some progress was noted, but the report card showed major deficiencies with sex trafficking responses in Illinois. Grades were issued based solely on analysis of current state statutes. Out of six categories, Illinois received an ‘F’ grade in four and a ‘D’ in one. The ‘F’ grades were administered in Identification of and Response to Victims, Continuum of Care, Tools for a Victim-Centered Criminal Justice Response, and Prevention and Training. Illinois was given a ‘D’ in Access to Justice for Trafficking Survivors. 

All the bills proposed by Illinois House Republicans were drafted based on recommendations in the Shared Hope International Report Card. 

Sign the petition to protect victims of human trafficking.