Traffickers face mandatory life in prison under new Alabama law billed as 'toughest' in nation


Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed an anti-child trafficking law that raises the penalty for first-degree human trafficking to a mandatory life imprisonment sentence if the victim was a minor, a bill her office claimed is the "toughest in America." 

Ivey's office announced last Wednesday that the Republican leader signed the Sound of Freedom Act, also known as House Bill 42. The legislation, sponsored by Republican Rep. Donna Givens, passed in the Senate earlier this month. The law is expected to go into effect on Oct. 1.

"Human trafficking of minors is one of the most heinous and heart-wrenching crimes in America, and because the most defenseless among us are the victims, those found guilty should face the harshest penalties," Ivey said in a statement.

Get Our Latest News for FREE

Subscribe to get daily/weekly email with the top stories (plus special offers!) from The Christian Post. Be the first to know.

"As human trafficking spreads across the nation, law enforcement everywhere has struggled to keep pace with those who want to harm and exploit innocent victims," she continued. "Sadly, we've witnessed such cases right here in Alabama where human traffickers continue to cavalierly defy our laws, but not anymore."

The bill amends existing laws to allow for further punishment of human trafficking under certain conditions. According to the legislation, an individual is guilty of human trafficking if he or she "knowingly subjects another person to labor servitude or sexual servitude." 

"He or she knowingly obtains, recruits, entices, solicits, induces, threatens, isolates, harbors, holds, restrains, transports, provides, or maintains any minor for the purpose of causing a minor to engage in sexual servitude," the bill's text states.

"He or she knowingly gives, or attempts to give, monetary consideration or any other thing of value to engage in any sexual conduct with a minor or an individual he or she believes to be a minor," the bill states.

According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, the organization received 285 calls from Alabama in 2021, and over 100 calls were from victims or survivors of human trafficking. The hotline exists to connect trafficking victims with resources, including emergency and transitional services. 

In 2023, multiple arrests for human trafficking occurred throughout Alabama.

Sting operations in Alabama that took last place year in Homewood, Cullman, Houston County, Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and Northport resulted in the arrest of 30 men charged with exploited children, reports CBS 42.

This included the arrest of a convicted sex offender from California, who was charged with first-degree human trafficking after he communicated with a minor in Tuscaloosa who was under 17. 

Authorities arrested Efon Guiseppe Carter, 24, after the West Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force learned the man was communicating with a child via social media and text messages.

In addition to first-degree human trafficking, the man was charged with producing obscene material depicting a child under 17 engaging in obscene acts. Guiseppe was also charged with electronic solicitation of a child and transmitting obscene material to a child by computer, according to CBS 42.

Another case involves a 71-year-old man charged with first-degree attempted human trafficking after he traveled to Pelham to meet a girl that he thought was 14.

James Matthew Miller was charged last July with attempting to meet a child for an unlawful sex act and electronic solicitation of a child in addition to the first-degree attempted human trafficking charge, CBS 42 reported.

Detectives with the Pelham Police Department assigned to the case worked with investigators from the 17th Judicial Circuit of Alabama assigned to the Homeland Security Investigations' Human Trafficking Task Force. 

"There must be a line drawn in the sand, and Alabama is now leading the country with the toughest punishment for anyone who is found guilty of first-degree human trafficking of a minor," Ivey said. "They will face nothing less than life behind bars. That is something these criminals will have to think long and hard about before they seek to harm children in our state."

"I was proud to sign the Sound of Freedom Act into law enabling Alabama to take the lead in protecting children from these horrendous crimes," she added. "I also commend Representative Donna Givens for introducing and shepherding this important legislation to final approval."

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

Was this article helpful?

Help keep The Christian Post free for everyone.

By making a recurring donation or a one-time donation of any amount, you're helping to keep CP's articles free and accessible for everyone.

We’re sorry to hear that.

Hope you’ll give us another try and check out some other articles. Return to homepage.

Most Popular

More Articles