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Published on Friday, January 17, 2014

Bill would send more dollars back to jurisdictions to help fight sex crimes against children

Currently, law enforcement agencies have authority to take possession of property involved in cases of drug crimes, human sex trafficking, sexual exploitation crimes and other felony crimes. Some of the pieces are required to be destroyed by law but the rest can be sold and the profit goes back to the agency, usually with limitations on how the funding can be used.

However, in the case of child pornography crimes where property is forfeited, 50 percent of all proceeds go to the state general fund and the other 50 percent goes to the general fund of the seizing law enforcement agency jurisdiction. There are no parameters for how this money is to be spent by the state or the law enforcement agency.

SB 6017, introduced by Senator Kohl-Welles (D-Seattle), allows a majority of the proceeds to stay with the local jurisdiction’s law enforcement agency to help fight sex crimes against children.

Under the provision, any profit from property forfeited as a result of the certain sex crimes against children requires the agency to remit 10 percent into the state’s general fund. The remaining 90 percent stays with the agency and must be used to pay any costs of the investigation that lead to the seizure, and then used for enforcing prostitution and sexual exploitation of children.

AWC supports the measure as it brings funding back to the local level. The bill is scheduled for public hearing in the Senate on January 20 at 1:30.

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