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Bills to aid human trafficking victims pass Georgia Senate

February 12, 2021 GMT

ATLANTA (AP) — Two proposals by Gov. Brian Kemp to further aid human trafficking victims are advancing in the Georgia General Assembly.

The state Senate on Thursday passed Senate Bill 33, which would allow victims or state officials to file civil lawsuits seeking money damages against traffickers, and Senate Bill 34, would make it easier for people who have been trafficking victims to change their names.

Both measures passed on unanimous votes and move to the House for more debate.

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Kemp has also said he’s seeking a rule change to require anyone earning or renewing a commercial driver’s license to take an anti-trafficking course.

The name-change bill would allow victims to change their names without advertising the measure in the local newspaper, as is now required, and let them file their petitions under seal with judges. Similar exceptions already exist for victims of family violence.

The lawsuit bill would let a victim sue anyone who knowingly benefited from trafficking for up to 10 years after the action, or up to 10 years after a victim’s 18th birthday. The state attorney general could also bring such a lawsuit. Any suits would be frozen until after a criminal case is involved. Kemp says the measure mirrors existing federal law.