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State legislature passes bills to fight human trafficking, child exploitation

Published: Apr. 6, 2022 at 10:34 PM CDT
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - The Mississippi State Legislature passed two bills aiming to help fight human trafficking and child exploitation before adjourning from this session.

“I think it’s most important that we now focus on those that can’t really focus on themselves, and those are the underage kids,” said State Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-District 41.

The state legislature recently passed SB 2321. The bill allows ordinary people to target promoters of some sex crimes.

“If you can find someone that is either the human trafficker or anyone that sort of benefitted from that whole chain of events of selling someone into prostitution or encouraging, promoting that person to go into prostitution and human traffic that person, you can, as a private citizen, find that out and go after them, you know, file private lawsuits for money against those people,” Fillingane said.

Both legislative bodies also passed SB 2246. Under current law, criminal investigators working in the attorney general’s office must drive to the judge to file for search or arrest warrants in person, according to Fillingane.

This bill helps speed line the process by allowing investigators to file electronically.

“If those handful of people are spending all of their time or a lot of their time doing nothing but traveling across the state to get search warrants and, you know, arrest warrants signed by judges, you know, that time could be better spent working on cases,” Fillingane said.

He says these bills are all in an effort to help those who may not be able to help themselves.

“We’ve got to do what we can to update our statutes to make sure that these kids are protected from the predators that really are taking advantage of them, not only the end-user necessarily, but the person that’s making money off of, you know, promoting this type of activity, providing the means for it to be accomplished,” Fillingane said.

Both bills now move to Gov. Reeves’ desk.

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