HARRISBURG – The state House today in Harrisburg approved legislation introduced by state Rep. Barry Jozwiak (R-Berks) that would increase penalties for criminals convicted of trafficking babies.
“My bill is about protecting some of Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable residents – newborns and infants,” Jozwiak said. “The idea that some criminals make money by trafficking human babies shocks our conscience and is repulsive. We want those criminals to face harsher penalties for this disgusting crime.”
Jozwiak’s House Bill 161
would strengthen the penalties for criminals who engage in the trafficking of infant children. His bill would define an infant child as anyone who is 1 year old or younger.
Baby trafficking currently is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison with up to a $10,000 fine.
Jozwiak’s bill would classify baby trafficking as a first-degree felony and quadruple the maximum prison term from five years to 20 years. It also would increase the maximum fine from $10,000 to $25,000.
“As a former law enforcement officer, I’m familiar with the ways human trafficking can negatively impact individuals and communities,” said Jozwiak, who prior to joining the state Legislature spent 25 years with the Pennsylvania State Police and another 12 as Berks County sheriff. “We want criminals to know that if they are caught trafficking babies in Pennsylvania, there will be severe consequences.”
Jozwiak’s bill is part of a larger initiative being spearheaded by Republicans in the state House. Republicans hold a significant majority in the state House and held a Capitol news conference today to highlight a comprehensive package of bills they are working to pass to combat human trafficking in Pennsylvania.
More information about Jozwiak is available on his website at RepJozwiak.com
or by following him on Facebook at Facebook.com/RepJozwiak
More information about the larger House Republican initiative to combat human trafficking is available at PaHouseGOP.com
Jozwiak’s bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.
Representative Barry Jozwiak
5th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Dan Massing