SALT LAKE CITY — The House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee on Thursday passed HB163, which clarifies statutes and increases penalties on the sex trafficking of children.

The bill has the support of the Utah Attorney General's Office because it provides greater protection of children who are subjected to sex acts, smuggling and trafficking.  

Comment on this story

Maddie Palmer, a student at Cottonwood High School, testified for the bill as a representative of Backyard Broadcast, a youth network dedicated to spreading awareness about child trafficking.

"One-hundred thousand children are trafficked every year,” she said, addressing to the nationwide problem.

Bill sponsor Rep. Jennifer Seelig, D-Salt Lake City, said the bill received widespread support from legal and law enforcement groups. The bill passed the committee unanimously and will goes to the full House.

Mary Mellor