030923KP0520rSPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Senator Mike Simmons to protect youth survivors from being tried as adults in a number of criminal court cases was signed into law.

“We need to meet youth survivors of human trafficking and other trauma-related cases with support,” said Simmons (D-Chicago). “The court system failed to do that for Sara Kruzan, a survivor of child trafficking and the inspiration for this bill. Youth survivors have experienced enough abuse and trauma. This legislation advocates for future survivors by ensuring that court systems consider how the trauma and abuse they experience play a role in their cases.”

Survivor Sara Kruzan was released and pardoned after being sentenced to life at 17 years for acts committed against her abuser, a convicted felon of human trafficking. House Bill 3414 reforms the justice system clarifying whether a minor should be tried as an adult if the crime the minor commits is against someone who was convicted of human trafficking or of a sex crime targeting the minor within the last three years. If that is the case, the court will be able to transfer them to juvenile court.

This law expands the number of factors judges can consider in deciding whether or not to issue an order to prosecute a minor as an adult for a felony offense. These factors include child welfare involvement, mental health issues, having been subject to sexual violence and other trauma, or outside pressure from a minor’s peers, family or community.

“As legislators we have a responsibility to our constituents,” Simmons said. “Advocating for change in the criminal justice system’s treatment of kids, and reforming sentencing practices that ignore the abuse and trauma of trafficking, is part of that.”

House Bill 3414 was signed into law on Friday, June 30. 

Category: Press Releases

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