Iowa House OKs Bill to Address Human Trafficking

The Iowa House has unanimously voted in favor of a measure meant to crack down on human trafficking involving minors.

The House approved the legislation 97-0 Wednesday. It now returns to the Senate for further consideration.

The bill as approved removes training requirements and a victim support fund included in the Senate’s original version. It maintains provisions to toughen penalties for those who sexually exploit minors.

Democratic Representative Sharon Steckman of Mason City says taking training out of the bill is a mistake. Representative Phyllis Thede, a Bettendorf Democrat, says she’s disappointed in the funding elimination.

Representative Greg Heartsill, a Republican from Melcher-Dallas, says despite conflicting opinions, the legislation will send the message that sexual exploitation won’t be tolerated in Iowa.

Lawmakers agree discussion on the topic must continue.