MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Gov. Bill Haslam has signed a series of bills protecting minors who are victims of sexual slavery and punishing people who exploit them.
One bill changes state law so that minors will no longer be prosecuted for prostitution. Rather, police will return the minors to their parents or guardians while the pimps and their customers are arrested, The Commercial Appeal reports.
Another measure lets police confiscate cars, homes and other property used in the sex trade. And another law increases from a misdemeanor to a felony the charge for people who pay for sex with a minor or mentally disabled person.
The steps are a response by lawmakers to a study that shows sexual slavery of adults and youths is spreading across the state. Haslam signed the bills last week.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)