By April Hunt
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Georgia House took aim at those who prostitute children on Wednesday, overwhelmingly agreeing to make it easier to go after pimps and others who exploit minors for sex.
House Bill 200 also would significantly increase the penalties for the crime of human trafficking and sexual servitude, bringing them in line with those for drug trafficking.
It passed the House with bipartisan support, 168-1. The lone dissenter, Rep. Bobby Franklin, R-Marietta, said he objected only because of constitutional questions about how many features the bill contained. He said he did not oppose the bill’s goals.
House members applauded themselves after the vote.
“Passage of this bill sends a strong message: ‘Not in our Georgia,’ ” said Majority Whip Ed Lindsey, the bill’s sponsor.
The approval comes just a year after legislators let a bill designed to help children trapped as sexual slaves die over concerns it would legalize prostitution for children under 16 by treating them as victims instead of criminals. Georgia’s age of consent is 16. Read more