Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signs human-trafficking bill, toughens penalties for child-prostitution

PHOENIX - Gov. Jan Brewer on Tuesday signed sweeping legislation that aims to curb human trafficking and was championed by the wife of U.S. Sen. John McCain.

Brewer, who made the bill a priority during her State of the State address, signed the bill into law during a news conference.

House Bill 2454 toughens penalties for trafficking adults, and targets businesses such as massage parlors and escort services that advertise online.

It requires advertisers to post their license numbers. They must also have written permission of any women they depict and have evidence they are not minors.

Cindy McCain, who pushed the bill forward, said the legislation would put Arizona at the forefront of the fight against human trafficking by imposing harsh penalties for pimps.

McCain has been championing human-trafficking legislation not only in Arizona but in other states, especially ones that host major events such as the Super Bowl, which she says attract traveling pimps and prostitutes. The proposed Arizona law will help close off the state to those traffickers, she said.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert, increases the minimum penalties for a child-prostitution conviction from 10 years to 24 years in prison. It also makes pimping a child or adult a racketeering offense that will allow asset seizures.

The bill received unanimous support in both chambers of the Arizona Legislature.

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