While the trafficking of women and children is a problem in every state, Maine's lawmakers have passed HP 1181, an act to, among other things, strengthen the laws against commercial sexual exploitation.
Carroll Conley of the Christian Civic League of Maine tells One News Now if the bill becomes law, then traffickers will face heavy punishment.
"They're just … basically coming down hard on the johns," he continues. "They're trying to remove the market pressure of the desire of buying sex by actually going after the johns and going after the people who are creating the actual market pressure."
The bill also removes criminal penalties for victims of trafficking and allows their criminal records to be sealed so they can more effectively pursue the straight and narrow. There is a question, though, as to whether the state's Democrat governor will sign the measure into law.
"Janet Mills is a former district attorney, so she actually doesn't like bills that expunge anything," Conley explains. "I actually, with the Christian Civic League, have advocated for … when someone goes 10 years with a clean record ... they could qualify for scholarships or housing -- those types of things."
But the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, which had a representative testify for the bill, is hopeful Governor Mills will see the measure as a step forward and sign it.