New penalties for sexual exploitation approved in Georgia

A constitutional amendment in Georgia that authorizes penalties for sexual exploitation and assessments on adult entertainment to fund child victims’ services looks as if it will pass.

With 127 of 159 counties reporting, 83.3 percent of voters cast ballots for the measure, while 16.7 percent voted against the measure.

The measure assesses a $5,000 fee on adult businesses and also charge an additional $2,500 fine for anyone convicted of exploitation-related crimes; the money would go to a Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund. Supporters say the additional money would benefit victims while some opponents say the measure is a veiled attempt to levy an additional fee on strip clubs.

“Is the adult entertainment industry responsible for this problem?” WRBL-TV quoted state Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, as saying. “Should they be taxed for this? Is there a nexus between these businesses and trafficking?”

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