The Georgia gubernatorial race is heating up and GOP candidate Brian Kemp has used Stacey Abrams’ voting record against her concerning the vote, or lack thereof, on an anti-sex-trafficking bill.
The Kemp campaign sent out information concerning Abrams’ decision not to vote on HB 341, an anti-sex trafficking bill. The goal of that bill was to strengthen the prosecution of persons soliciting others to engage in sex trafficking and sexual acts related to sex trafficking.
Before the bill was passed in the 2017 session, if someone paid for sexual services from someone over 18 who they know to be a victim of human trafficking, that person was to be charged with misdemeanor pandering – that specific charge could bring fines and prison time of up to one year.
Now, the law states that one could face up to 20 years in prison and receive a felony charge. The new law impacts those who knowingly pay for sex from an adult who is being coerced into prostitution or from an adult who is developmentally disabled.
In 2017, the House passed HB 341 with a vote 169-0, with Abrams not voting.
In a press release sent out on Monday, Kemp’s campaign stated the following:
“Stacey Abrams is a radical, career politician who coddles criminals, protects sex offenders, and attacks our men and women in uniform,” said Cody Hall, Press Secretary. “In the General Assembly, Abrams literally walked on a bi-partisan bill to end sex trafficking. Georgia has the sixth highest number of sex trafficking cases in the nation, but when it came time to punish those who buy and sell our children, Stacey Abrams put her extreme agenda first and was nowhere to be found.
“When it comes to ending sex trafficking, crushing gangs, and punishing criminals, Brian Kemp will put our families ahead of politics. He will always show up and do the right thing. As governor, Brian Kemp will put hardworking Georgians – and our safety – first.”
Out of the 50 states, Georgia ranks in as number six with human trafficking cases reported. In 2017, Georgia had 3,186 sex trafficking cases that were reported according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline – the 6th highest of cases in the country.
The Abrams campaign responded to the Kemp’s campaign attack on her voting record of HB 341:
“Brian Kemp’s desperate campaign is attempting to distract from the fact that he allowed massage therapists accused of assault to keep their licenses, endangering Georgians in the process. While Kemp continues to hide from his record, Stacey Abrams remains the only candidate in this race with a trusted, proven track record of working closely with survivors of assault and fighting against legislative efforts that undermine justice for survivors,” said campaign spokeswoman Priyanka Mantha.
In 2016, Abrams spoke to groups associated with International Human Trafficking Institute, a program of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta concerning how to combat sex trafficking.
In 2011, Abrams also supported a Republican-sponsored bill that toughens the penalty for sex traffickers and improves outcomes for victims has cleared another hurdle.
Most of the current polling averages have the Georgia governor’s race tied, giving the Republican, Kemp, the slight edge.