We rejoice in the recent passing of Senate Bill 683, North Carolina’s new “Safe Harbor Bill.” This law protects all minors under the age of 18 from prosecution of charges for prostitution, and it places higher penalties on offenders, making the solicitation of prostitution with a minor a felony, and requiring offenders to compensate their victims in accordance with the state’s Fair Wages Act.
In regards to other states across the country, North Carolina is now the 8th state where all minors under 18 have immunity from prostitution charges (the others being Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, Tennessee, and Vermont). Minnesota makes minors who commit prostitution offenses immune under the state’s juvenile delinquency code.
North Carolina is one of four states who has enacted a bill during this year’s congressional session, joining Kentucky, Mississippi, and Nebraska.
Many other states across the country have varying legislation regarding victims of child abuse and/or sex trafficking, many of which do not offer full safe harbor. Connecticut, for example, makes minors under the age of 16 immune from prostitution charges, but 16- and 17-year-olds are not immune. For a complete list of these laws, you can visit Shared Hope International’s Bill Tracking page.