State Representative Doreen Costa’s bill that would increase jail time for sexual predators (2014- H7916) was recommended for passage by the House Judiciary Committee on April 8th and passed the House Chamber on Thursday.
“Rhode Island criminalized human trafficking in 2009. That is just five short years ago. Think about that! Together we have taken the next step to stand up for the victims of sex trafficking in our state by strengthening our laws,” Costa (R-Dist. 31, North Kingstown, Exeter) said.
The bill increases the maximum sentence for sexual predators from 40 to 50 years and anyone found guilty or interfering with enforcement of sex trafficking laws can face up to 35 years in jail, rather than the 20 year limit.
The bill also increases the maximum fine from $20,000 to $40,000.
“These people don’t belong on our streets. You know it, I know it and now they know it. We will not stop until we are safe from one of the most horrific crimes against kids and adults. Consider the nightmare of being taken against your will by a sex predator, to be forced into that dark, scary world with no where to turn," Costa said. "We have many voices in our state who speak out for victims but they don’t always get the support or the headlines that they deserve for their heart wrenching work.”
Costa, in a release, thanked her colleagues for their support. She also thanked State Police Superintendent Col. Stephen G. O’Donnell, Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin and the Rhode Island Brotherhood of Correctional Officers who stood behind the bill.