Proposed bill would punish johns, not victims associated with human trafficking

Posted at 6:39 PM, Sep 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-16 20:39:14-04

A Google search for 'Boise' will show you the affinity for our area. Year after year the city ranks on lists for 'Best Downtown' and more. There's also a dark side you won't find on any list.

"We are fully aware that human trafficking is going on," says Lt. Colonel Sheldon Kelley with the Idaho State Police Department. 

If you saw the Idaho State Police crime report released earlier this year, you may have seen human trafficking listed but no data shown. 

"It doesn't have its own separate category within the report because is no specific law against human trafficking, the elements are incorporated within other aspects of the report," says Kelley. 

They say their hands are pretty much tied with the current statutes. 

"The state police don't make laws, we just enforce them," says Kelley. 

Most of the bills currently in place relate to prostitution. 

"The line is very blurred between human trafficking, and in many cases, they are the same prostitution however one of the problems is because we don't have statutes on the book that punish the individual that's trying to purchase the girl, it creates the problem," says Nampa Rep. Brent Crane. 

Nampa Representative Brent Crane is proposing a bill that will bring stiffer penalties to the johns, not the victims who are forced into prostitution. 

"What they end up doing is they punish the girl that's selling herself, and the guy walks off scotch free. If Idaho were to pass this legislation it would be the first in the country to pass legislation that would actually punish the buyer," says Crane. 

Dawn Maglish, the owner of INsideOUT Salon, has helped more than 70 victims of trafficking in our area. She says without punishing the buyers, the problem will continue to exist in Treasure Valley. 

"If we create stiffer penalties, in the long run, it will deter people from buying or selling in our state," says Maglish.  

The proposed bill won't end human trafficking in our state, but it could enable the police to take more action. 

"It's another tool in the toolbox," says Crane.