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House Passes Bill Increasing Penalty for Selling Infants

Infants currently are not covered under Pennsylvania's human trafficking statutes.

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives on Monday passed a bill that increases the penalties for selling an infant in the commonwealth.

The legislation, House Bill 2088, comes in response to human trafficking concerns, says Rep. Joe Hackett (R-161), the bill's sponsor.

“This legislation brings the crime of selling an infant more in line with human trafficking, which is graded as a felony,” Hackett said. “We must not downgrade the crime of selling humans simply because the person being treated as a commodity is a baby.”

Existing human trafficking laws in the commonwealth require that the person in question be used for forced labor or services, so infants didn't fall under those regulations.

The legislation passed by the House raises the penalty for selling, trading, bartering or buying an infant from a misdemeanor to a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

RosiesDad May 06, 2014 at 07:33 AM
Is this a legitimate law enforcement issue? How many infants are sold in PA? Or is this just Fauxtrage legislation designed to fix a problem that doesn't exist? And why aren't they figuring out where to find some funds for ROAD REPAIR???
tiredoftheviolence May 06, 2014 at 09:26 AM
Not that I agree with selling children but, isn't that what attorneys and adoption agencies do every day?
MPorchik May 06, 2014 at 02:00 PM
Well Attorneys and adoption agencies charge fees, so they aren't technically selling infants. As far as RosiesDad is concerned, if even one person is convicted of selling an infant then I think this is a justifiable piece of legislation. Better to put the law into effect prior to the issue occurring than to have someone not be punished because a law isn't on the books.
RosiesDad May 06, 2014 at 03:19 PM
@MPorchik: While I am sure that we agree that the concept of selling a baby is reprehensible, this smacks of legislators wasting time solving problems that don't exist. Because I did google "Baby selling in PA" and got exactly one hit, a story about a man from PA convicted in DE for trying to buy a woman's baby down there. On the other hand, have you driven on the local roads lately? Now that is a real problem that needs a real solution. I wish our local and state officials would spend a little more time figuring that one out.
MPorchik May 07, 2014 at 09:56 AM
@Rosie - I agree with you, this wasn't critical legislation, but I don't think there was much time spent on implementing this law either. As far as the roads go, it's been a pretty rough winter, lots of salt, and lately lots of rain eroding everything. It's going to take PennDOT and the local municipalities a little bit of time to play catch up.

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