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Governor Cooper Signs House Bill 198 into Law

Updated: Dec 1, 2020

Published September 5, 2019

In July the North Carolina Senate unanimously passed House Bill 198, a bill that implemented recommendations from the North Carolina Human Trafficking Commission. On July 22, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed House Bill 198 into law.” This bill will help crack down on human trafficking and protect the victims of this horrible crime, and I appreciate both parties coming together make these important updates to our law,” shared Governor Cooper.

North Carolina’s has some of the nation’s toughest human trafficking laws and carry some of the nation’s strictest criminal penalties. However, additional legislative action was needed to both reduce the demand fueling human trafficking and to expand the avenues of post-conviction and civil relief available to victims.

House Bill 198 implements the following recommendations made by the Human Trafficking Commission:

·    Preserve the current offense classifications of human trafficking crimes.

·    Expand the definition of “sexual servitude” to apply to all instances of buyer conduct.

·    Prohibit the promotion or sale of “sex tourism” services.

·    Create a civil cause of action for victims to recover damages from individuals who trafficked them or financially benefited from the trafficking activity.

·    Expand and streamline the process for human trafficking victims to expunge convictions for nonviolent crimes that were committed as a direct result of the individual being a victim of human trafficking.

·    Expand the grounds for appropriate relief and vacate convictions for nonviolent crimes committed by individuals as a direct result of their being victims of human trafficking.

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