House Assistant Majority Leader Brent Crane, R-Nampa, said Thursday he plans to introduce legislation aimed at curbing sex trafficking in Idaho.
"It's important to note... that this is a significant problem here in the state of Idaho," Crane said. "There's a corridor between here and Portland and Seattle that they're moving these vulnerable women and children through."
Crane has been working with anti-trafficking organization INsideOut on how to start addressing the issue. Members of the group were inside the Capitol for the legislator's announcement.
The legislation will make a first-time offense of soliciting prostitution a felony. Under current Idaho law, it's a misdemeanor until a third offense.
Advocates say the legislation is a step toward ending the demand that drives sex trafficking.
"It is a part of a series of bills that we're going to be running on human trafficking," Crane said. "It is a significantly large subject and one that is difficult to deal with. There's a lot of nuances in the law, so we thought we'd take them in small, bite-sized pieces and be able to pass some meaningful reforms that are long overdue here in the state of Idaho."
Gov. C.L "Butch" Otter signed a proclamation this year making January Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
Crane said he expects the bill to be introduced in the coming weeks in the House Judiciary Committee.