CEASE Clinic Staff Attorney and Lead Litigator Brian Atkinson testified before the Georgia General Assembly House Judiciary Non-Civil Subcommittee on March 21, 2023 about the possible detrimental effects of Senate Bill 36 on child survivors of sexual exploitation and trafficking. SB 36 would change the pimping and pandering offenses from a misdemeanor to a felony and would institute mandatory minimums for offenders who commit acts of pimping and pandering against child victims of sexual exploitation. Although the legislation seemingly protects child victims, it would increase the likelihood that a victim themselves may end up facing prosecution in superior court and at least 10 years’ imprisonment. Child victims of sexual exploitation are often used by traffickers, pimps, and gangs to recruit other victims, or they may engage in acts that constitute pimping and pandering as a means to protect themselves from further abuse and exploitation. Testimony on the bill begins at the following link at 18:00 and Atkinson’s testimony begins at 35:30: https://vimeo.com/810258801

For more on how legislation may affect survivors, see CEASE’s policy brief Child Sex Trafficking: Enhancing Georgia’s Response on the importance of decriminalizing survivor trauma responses.