Legislation to protect and help human trafficking victims takes effect July 1

PIERRE, S.D. — Legislation to better protect and help victims of human trafficking in South Dakota will take effect on July 1.

The South Dakota State Legislature passed and Governor Kristi Noem signed HB 1047 during this past legislative session to put these reforms into effect.

“People are not for sale in South Dakota,” said Governor Noem. “Fighting human trafficking has been a priority of mine for years, and it will remain a priority of my administration moving forward. This bill takes important steps to protect our state from the horrors of human trafficking, crack down on traffickers, and provide for victims through expanded services and resources.”

Gov. Noem’s legislation received unanimous support from both chambers of the legislature.

HB1047 takes a four-pronged approach to protect South Dakota from human trafficking by:

  • Ensuring traffickers are prosecuted for their crimes by amending the criminal code to add “purchaser” and prevent a defense of “consent” or “mistake of age.”
  • Paving a path to a clean record for minor victims with convictions for crimes they were forced to commit.
  • Increasing access to victim resources that includes reimbursement of expenses like hospital stays and mental health counseling.

This legislation builds on Gov. Noem’s work in 2019 that further defines coercion and strengthens prosecution against traffickers.

Gov. Noem was an outspoken advocate on legislation that protects people against human trafficking and championed the decade’s most comprehensive anti-trafficking initiative in Congress.

To learn more about HB 1047, visit sdlegislature.gov.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News