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Relating to the prosecution of the offenses of trafficking of persons and compelling prostitution and to certain consequences of compelling prostitution.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
HB 462 would remove the requirement that a person must know they are engaging in sexual conduct with an adult or child prostitute that is a trafficking victim in order to have committed an offense, instead making it an offense whether or not the person knows that the prostitute is a trafficking victim. If the prostitute is an adult, such an offense would be a second-degree felony; if the prostitute is a child, it would be a first-degree felony. HB 462 would also include the trafficking of a person with a disability and causing them to engage in prostitution in the offense of trafficking of persons.
Texas Action opposes HB 462 because it would constitute overcriminalization and devalue personal responsibility. A person knowingly and intentionally committing an offense is a crucial aspect in determining to what extent they should be held responsible. HB 462 would enable the prosecution of a person who pays for sexual services from a person they do not know is a trafficking victim. Since such people can already be charged with engaging in prostitution, they would face more severe criminal penalties under this bill without a prosecutor needing to prove their knowledge or intent.