Senate Billwhich has passed the Senate and House and awaits action by Gov. Margie MacDonald, D-Billings, introduced SB — which expands the definitions of and penalties for trafficking in addition to expanding the definition of prostitution — after being approached by Yellowstone County Area Human Trafficking Task Force cofounders Penny Ronning, a Billings city councilperson, and Stephanie Baucus, a Billings attorney, with concerns that the businesses could be fronts for trafficking.
HB has passed the House and is scheduled for a third Senate reading on Wednesday. Baker has worked montana state and federal trafficking cases in partnership with various task forces. The lack of a law against assisted masturbation did not stop a federal investigation from resulting in the indictment of a Billings-area spa owner, Scot Donald Petrie, on prostitution-related charges, as reported on Tuesday by the Billings Gazette. He has also said, along billing MacDonald, Zolnikov, and the members of the Yellowstone County prostitution force, that the goal is to prosecute traffickers, not further criminalize people selling sex.
Billings massage parlor owner ple guilty to federal charge related to prostitution ring
The resulting changes, which make buying assisted masturbation, but not selling it, a crime, are an attempt to criminalize only one side of an illegal transaction. How that might work in practice will be seen after the law goes into effect. Under SBa person offering the sale of a non-penetrative sex act would be committing the crime of prostitution, but could not be convicted of prostitution unless they offered sexual intercourse. Whether such a person could be arrested is not clear.
A client for such a service, however, could be arrested, Baker said. Baker referred the question of how prosecutions might work under the new law to Stephanie Baucus, who served on a trafficking task force in the Washington, D. Department of Justice from to She is married to Assistant U. Attorney Zeno Baucus, who has prosecuted federal trafficking cases out of Billings. For example, if an undercover officer investigating a massage parlor were offered an illegal service while posing as a client, that would give law enforcement grounds to proceed with an investigation.
In practice, anti-trafficking operations targeting massage parlors frequently lead to the arrests of workers. The recent Florida parlor raids that yielded the arrest montana New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft have failed to yield trafficking chargesand if the sex workers are convicted on prostitution billings, they may be deported.
What sort of avenues for freedom from trafficking are we offering them besides the threat of deportation? The push to increase penalties and broaden definitions in Montana comes at a time prostitution other state legislatures, including those in Utah and Oregon, are passing bills that grant immunity from prostitution charges if a victim reports an assault by a client or a robbery that occurred while she was engaged in prostitution.
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The organization was formed in after a massage worker in Queens, New York, fell from a window to her death during a police raid. Quantifying trafficking in Montana is difficult.
Jen Gross, D-Billings, asked how many trafficking cases have been recorded in Montana, but no one was able to provide her with an estimate. The Division of Criminal Investigation reported 23 cases inand counts as a case any tip that requires investigative follow-up.
Sex trafficking in montana: bills crack down on illicit massage parlors
Federal prosecutions have yielded three trafficking convictions in the state, and convictions in three additional prostitution-related cases that the Montana U. During that billing time period, at least seven individuals have been convicted montana state charges of promotion of prostitution or aggravated promotion of prostitution that included elements of trafficking such as force, fraud, coercion, or underaged victims.
No trafficking or prostitution convictions in the last four years have been connected to massage parlors, according to court records. Representatives of the Billings Police Department and the FBI said no state or federal charges had been connected to the massage parlors sinceprostitution a couple who owned two Billings spas were convicted on federal charges of money laundering and interstate promotion of prostitution.
The charges against Petrie are the first since then. Two of the seven individuals convicted on state charges since were women who faced promotion of prostitution charges while at the same time being considered victims in one or more of the other five cases.
One, an year-old woman who was considered a victim in trafficking charges against two men that stemmed from a Great Falls bust, was convicted on felony promotion charges because she had been working alongside a year-old. The other, a year-old arrested along with a year-old during an internet sting in Billings, was offered an billing prostitution — that she was not guilty by reason of being a victim of the trafficker charged with directing the two women — but refused to say she was a victim and was subsequently convicted and given a suspended sentence.
The year-old was montana in Billings and extradited on a warrant for a probation violation to her home state of New Mexico, where a chance encounter between her extradition officer and a trafficking investigator led to trafficking charges against her mother. Baker said that arrests of victims are a problem that from a lack of law enforcement training.
The difference is that between a victim and a criminal, which, under the provisions of SBwill still be determined by the discretion of law enforcement, not the law. Value local news? Think it's important to building an informed community?
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