Human trafficking: Protecting the real victims

New law providing grant money and immunity

“People who have been enslaved by sex traffickers should be judiciously protected and given every opportunity to heal and move forward with their lives.” - State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D - Chicago Heights)

prison-162885 640CAUCUSSPRINGFIELD – The fight against human trafficking in Illinois will receive a huge boost from a new law providing funding for the construction and maintenance of shelters and advance specialized services for victims of this human rights atrocity.

Championed by Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights), the Specialized Services for Survivors of Human Trafficking Fund will provide grants for essential needs associated with human trafficking and prostitution, while providing that minors can no longer be charged with solicitation of a sex act.

“People who have been enslaved by sex traffickers are now finally going to be lawfully protected and given every opportunity to heal and move forward with their lives,” Sen. Hutchinson said.

The measure is funded with fees and forfeitures paid by offenders convicted of human trafficking and prostitution crimes. Priority services will be administered in consultation with expert advocates, including emergency housing and drop-in centers.

“The offender-funded grants are going to provide for the trauma centers and shelters. This is a cause we can all actively support. Victims need an advocate in every one of us,” Hutchinson said.

The legislation further provides that a person cannot be convicted of solicitation if the underlying sex act is the person’s own act of prostitution. The new law has many supporters, among them the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois and the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.

Senate Bill 3558 was signed into law by the governor today.

Sen. Toi W. Hutchinson

40th District

Years served: 
2009 - 2019

Committee assignments: Executive; Judiciary; Public Health; Revenue (Chairperson); Transportation; Subcommittee on Special Issues.

Biography: Full-time state legislator; Born May 20, 1973; Graduated University of Illinois at Urbana with a Bachelor in English; Olympia Fields Village Clerk from 2002-2006; Harvard Kennedy School of Government Executive Management Program; Women and Power, 2004; Former Chief of Staff to State Senator Debbie Halvorson; Lives in Olympia Fields with husband, Paul, and 3 children.

Associated Representatives:
Anthony DeLuca
Lindsay Parkhurst