State Pushes Sex Trafficking Sticker for Bars

Clackamas and Portland state representatives Brent Barton and Jefferson Smith are spearheading a bill in the Oregon legislature this month that aims to get all Oregon bars and liquor stores to post a small sticker raising awareness about human trafficking.

If the bill (HB 3623) passes, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission would send every one of the state’s roughly 11,000 businesses that hold liquor licenses a small sticker advertising a national human trafficking hotline and urging both victims and people who suspect they know victims to call in and report the situation. Posting the sticker would be optional.

Smith says that getting the stickers into bars, restaurants and liquor stores is key because they will be more visible there to people at risk for coercion into the sex industry. “If we went to put the stickers in a post office or a police department, a person who’s at risk is less likely to go there than to go to a local liquor store,” says Smith. “It also sends the signal to the pimps and johns who are very likely, over the course of a week, to go to a bar or liquor store, that what they’re doing is illegal and will be stopped.”

The local bill comes on the heels of Senator Ron Wyden’s stump speech in Jantzen Beach last weekend for a federal bill to “beat the pimps” by providing more funds for human trafficking investigation and establishing a shelter for victims.

Barton and Smith’s idea is modeled on a mandatory sticker-posting program in Texas. According to Smith, after the state told all businesses with liquor licenses that they had to post a sticker for the human trafficking hotline, calls to the national hotline jumped by a third to about 650 calls a month.

I expect this bill to pass easily. Human trafficking is a big issue right now in Oregon and this is a simple way to both raise awareness and reach out to victims. Perhaps more important to politicians, there is no pricetag attached. Because the OLCC routinely sends out mailers to all licensees anyway, the estimated fiscal impact of this bill is $0.


Published in: on January 15, 2010 at 9:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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