Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp was in Buford on Tuesday, Aug. 27, to sign legislation to fight human trafficking and provide protections for victims.
A residential care facility for homeless children, Home of Hope at the Gwinnett Children’s Shelter, was the location where Kemp signed into law three bills — Senate Bill 33, Senate Bill 34 and House Bill 287.
Senate Bill 33 allows victims to file civil suits against traffickers or anyone else who benefited financially from their abuse. The bill sets a timetable for filing suit.
Senate Bill 34 establishes a new exception in state law to protect trafficking survivors who can now request a legal name change under seal, rather than being required to publish public notices in newspapers. This bill is intended to help prevent victims’ abusers from locating them.
House Bill 287 requires students begin learning about human trafficking beginning in sixth grade.
“As we stand before you today, we know that Gwinnett County is one of the main hubs for human trafficking in our state, and the folks here at House of Hope are on the front lines of this fight every single day and we’re just incredibly grateful for all of your efforts,” Kemp said prior to signing the bills. “We cannot waste time and we cannot ignore what we know is happening all around, and we must take action.”
Kemp called the signing an important step in achieving goals to support victims and end human trafficking in Georgia. He was joined at the signing by his wife, Marty Kemp, who co-chairs the GRACE Commission, a coalition of public officials, law enforcement, for-profit and non-profit organizations, faith-based institution and subject matter experts to address human trafficking, seek justice for victims and hold traffickers accountable. GRACE is an acronym for Georgians for Refuge, Action, Compassion and Education.
State Sen. Clint Dixon, R-Buford, the primary sponsor of both Senate bills, was in attendance during the signing. State Rep. Bonnie Rich, R-Suwanee, who authored the House bill was also present.
All three bills passed with bipartisan, unanimous support in the Senate and House.
“Today, as Brian signs SB33, SB34 and HB287, we continue to send that message that there is no place for human trafficking in the state of Georgia,” Marty Kemp said. “We are now doubling down on our efforts and renewing our commitment to the fight against human trafficking.”
Marty Kemp thanked Sen. Dixon and Rep. Bonnie Rich, among other legislators, for working toward combating human trafficking.