Mississippi News

Bill increasing punishments for human trafficking signed

Mississippi Gov, Tate Reeves announced the signing of House Bill 971, which among other things, prohibits any person from driving a commercial motor vehicle if convicted of any crime under the Mississippi Human Trafficking Act or any felony involving sex trafficking under federal law.

Human trafficking is a tragic crime of abuse that takes advantage of the most vulnerable members of society.

“Human trafficking is a vile and disgusting crime,” Reeves said. “Mississippi’s supply chains have no room for human traffickers and the individuals that perpetuate this abuse deserve to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. This legislation offers another deterrent to fight against human traffickers and punish those who commit this horrendous act.”

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, human traffickers took advantage of the rise in social media usage to target potential victims and increase their attacks.

This cruel abuse has ruined the lives of too many. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, over the course of 2011 to 2019, the number of defendants charged with human trafficking in U.S. district courts increased by 79%. The number of defendants convicted increased by 80%.

This legislation disqualifies individuals convicted of human trafficking from ever driving a commercial motor vehicle again.

News release