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Illinois Joins Effort Against Sex Abuse and Exploitation – Legislation Signed

— August 17, 2017

Illinois Joins Effort Against Sex Abuse and Exploitation – Legislation Signed

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed legislation on Friday doing away with the statutes of limitations on certain sexual abuse and exploitation crimes.  The legislation specifically revises chapter 38, sections 3-6, of the Illinois Criminal Code to eliminate reporting time limitations on felony sex crimes and sex crimes against children.  Previously, the law stated that such crimes had to be reported within 20 years of reaching age 18 whenever a victim is a minor.

Some specific crimes covered by the new bill, which is effective immediately, include solicitation for a juvenile prostitute, child pornography, promoting underage prostitution, criminal sexual assault and sexual conduct toward minors.  The language now removed had previously read “…when corroborating physical evidence is available or an individual who is required to report an alleged or suspected commission of any of these offenses under the Abused and Neglected Child Report Act fails to do so.”

The stricken language in the bill comes after modifications to sex crime and exploitation laws in other parts of the world  In June of this year, Japan made changes to its rape laws.  The changes expand the definition of rape to include a wider range of sex crimes, increase prison sentences to a minimum of five years for offenders and allow for prosecution of offenders in cases in which the victim chose not to press charges.

Illinois Joins Effort Against Sex Abuse and Exploitation – Legislation Signed
Image Courtesy of Priscilla Du Preez

In May, Australia also joined the effort against sex crimes and sex trafficking by prohibiting registered sex offenders to travel overseas, and last year, Germany also expanded the definition of sex crimes to include any type of “nonsensical sexual contact.”

Changes to sex crime legislation come at a time in which law enforcement and political officials are attempting to decrease the sex trafficking epidemic as a whole.  British model Chloe Ayling just announced earlier this week she was drugged and kidnapped in Milan, Italy, in July by the human trafficking organization Black Death.  The kidnappers had plans to sell Ayling as a sex slave, shipping her to the Middle East, but they changed their minds when they discovered Ayling had a son.  Being a parent is a violation of the group’s rules for sex trafficking.  This is just one of many horrific cases reported daily.

According to the International Labor Organization’s Global Estimate of Forced labor, nearly 21 million people are currently “trapped in jobs into which they were coerced or deceived and which they cannot leave.”  Social media provides for prime hunting grounds.  In a world in which a predator can pretend to be pretty much anyone, it’s easy to scope out and deceive prey, and models and other celebrities make for easy targets.

The senate is currently considering amending a long-held internet law in order to punish sites such as Backpage and Craigslist for running sexually explicit ads, as well.  Law enforcement and nonprofit organizations designed to fight against sex crimes, such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, use these sites to search for missing children and teens.  Unfortunately, so do predators.

One thing’s for sure, there needs to be a more well-rounded, concerted effort to fight against sexual exploitation, particularly in the age of the internet, and it appears Rauner recognizes the importance of establishing more inclusive guidelines.  More changes to current legislation are likely to occur in the near future.


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