New Law Means Tougher Penalties For Child Trafficking Offenders

DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN)— Local prosecutors are reacting to the Governor’s signing of a law that stiffens penalties for criminals convicted of child sex trafficking.

With the stroke of a pen, Governor Kay Ivey today signed what her office calls the country’s toughest anti-human trafficking law.

The new law, known as the Sound of Freedom Act, would make first-degree human trafficking of a minor a mandatory life-in-prison crime.

“I mean, I think it’s a good thing. It puts a little more teeth into the law, as far as the punishment is concerned,” says Henry and Houston County District Attorney Russ Goodman.

The law applies only to those crimes where a minor is involved. It will not apply to sting operations.

During her February state of the state address, Ivey said, “Human trafficking of minors is one of the most heinous and heart-wrenching crimes in America, and because the most defenseless among us are the victims, those found guilty should face the harshest penalties.”

But Goodman is not the only local prosecutor speaking out.

“It’s always a good day for law enforcement, for prosecutors, when we have another tool in our toolbox that we can use,” says Coffee and Pike County District Attorney James Tarbox.

Tarbox says he hopes, from a prosecutorial perspective, the new law will help serve as a deterrent to someone who might help contemplate harming a child in this manner.

And if somebody does harm a child in that way, Goodman offers this warning.

He says, “Don’t do it. Because if you do, you’re going to go to prison for life, and I’ll make sure of it.”

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