ST. PAUL, Minn. -- On the same day that details related to the murder of 18-year-old Brittany Clardy surfaced, victim advocates spent the day at the Capitol pushing for the latest legislation that would give more services and support to child sex trafficking victims.
On Friday, 23-year-old Alberto Palmer was charged in the murder of 18-year-old Brittany Clardy. Police believe Palmer picked up Clardy on the website backpage.com, and that the two had sex before Palmer beat the St. Paul teenager to death with a hammer.
"These are the kind of stories that keep us up at night," said Jeff Bauer, the Director of Public Policy at the Family Partnership.
Bauer was among several advocates on hand at the Capitol Friday to testify on behalf of legislation that would effectively fund the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Youth Act, which goes into effect in 2014. The legislation this year is called "No Wrong Door" and would basically provide funding and services to implement the Safe Harbor Act.
Specifically, the bill calls for spending $8.5 million on housing sex-trafficked youth and another $5 million to provide services for those victims and training for law enforcement on how to identify and investigate sex trafficking cases. The new law would also change the 2011 act, so that a 16- or 17-year-old victim would not be charged as a prostitute.
For advocates -- this latest legislation continuing its journey through the Capitol -- is a critical step towards helping the youngest sex trafficking victims.
"It's something we don't like to talk about, but we definitely have to move forward and address the issue," said Artika Roller with Family Partnership.
(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)