OLYMPIA – Rep. Debra Entenman, D-Kent, passed her first bill as a state legislator out of the state House of Representatives today by a vote of 96-0. The legislation, HB 1055, addresses a problem in the criminal justice system that sometimes delays law enforcement officers from arresting sex traffickers.
Currently, law enforcement can arrest someone without a warrant when probable cause exists the individual has committed a felony, including for violating certain protective orders. Unfortunately, a no-contact order for Promoting Prostitution and Trafficking cases is not one of those situations when a warrantless arrest is allowed.
A no-contact order can be used by victims of sex trafficking to protect themselves from their abusers. Unfortunately, too many traffickers violate those no-contact orders to intimidate or physically harm their victims. Law enforcement officers have to pursue a warrant from a judge to then arrest the trafficker, losing valuable time that can save a victim’s life.
Entenman’s legislation amends current law to allow for the warrantless arrest for violation of a no-contact order for Promoting Prostitution and Trafficking when probable cause exists. This allows police officers to arrest a trafficker who has a no-contact order against them and has been determined to be a threat.
“Imagine being a young woman, a teenager, forced into prostitution after being smuggled into this country. It’s a nightmare and this legislation will provide law enforcement another tool to help stop sex traffickers from intimidating or hurting their victims,” said Entenman.
The state Senate will now consider HB 1055 for passage.