Olens touts legislative success while in Augusta

Attorney general discusses sex-trafficking bill

A large part of state Attorney General Sam Olens' job is to be involved with disagreements, but he said he's proud of what Georgia legislators agreed on this session.


Olens addressed the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce as a guest speaker for the post-session legislative breakfast Thursday morning, highlighting a bill that was passed to increase penalties and awareness of sex trafficking within the state of Georgia.

HB-200 raised the minimum sentence for sex trafficking from one year to 25 years, with a maximum of 50 years in prison for the offense. Many people do not fully understand how widespread sex trafficking is within the state, Olens said, and that's something he hopes this bill will change.

"Sex trafficking is not always folks who don't know each other," he said.

Atlanta is one of the largest sex trafficking hubs in the United States, he said, and this is partly because of the extensive interstate system and the many jobs and people that come with that.

"It comes with a lot of jobs, but also with a lot of opportunities for things like sex trafficking," he said. "(HB-200) was very much needed."

Olens has been working as attorney general since January.

State Sens. Jesse Stone, Hardie Davis and Rep. Ernest Smith attended the breakfast, and along with Olens, also commented on issues ranging from the controversial immigration bill to funding for the HOPE scholarship and grant program.

Stone serves on the committee for higher education and was involved directly in working to find funding for the HOPE scholarship and grant program.

"I believe we will not be facing a future of uncertainty on whether HOPE funding is solvent or not," he said. "It's on a good financial footing now, and it will be for the future."