PHOENIX, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Among the 19 bills signed today by Arizona Governor Ducey is HB 2116, a bill that provides civil action against human and sex trafficking perpetrators.
The new legislation is highly supported by AZ Attorney General March Brnovich and Rep. Shawnna L.M. Bolick, who say it will allow victims of human and sex trafficking to take civil action against their perpetrators, and anyone else who contributes to their abuse.
“Society needs to do everything we can to assist victims of this horrific crime and help them rebuild their lives,” said Attorney General Brnovich. “... this new law provides an additional resource for survivors to hold their traffickers accountable for the lives they’ve thrown into chaos.”
Previously in Arizona, victims of these crimes were only addressed in criminal statutes, and victims could not take action against their perpetrators in court.
“This new law allows victims to recover the economic losses they suffered during the time their perpetrators were committing the crime,” said Rep. Bolick. “But more importantly, it addresses the host of related physical and mental damages that occur as a result of being trafficked.”
HB2116 stipulates that:
- A person who engages in the trafficking of another person or a person who benefits from participating in a venture that traffics another person is liable to the person trafficked for damages that arise during the trafficking period.
- Acquittal, no prosecution or criminal conviction, or conviction of a different offense or of a different type or class of offense do not qualify as a defense to liability.
- Subjects corporations, associations, and partnerships to liability.
- A claimant who prevails will be awarded actual damages and may recover additional exemplary damages.
- Any person found responsible for any amount is jointly liable with any other person found to be liable for the entire amount of damages.
- If a legal entity is found responsible for trafficking, a shareholder, partner, or member of that entity is jointly and severally liable if the shareholder, member, or partner was found to have personally benefited from the trafficking.
- There is no statute of limitations for a victim to bring forward a private action.