SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois House of Representatives approved legislation Tuesday sponsored by State Rep. John Anthony to allow licensed tattoo businesses to remove tattoos from minors victimized by sex trafficking, as well as former gang members.
House Bill 5858 originated in Anthony’s district with Chris Baker of Oswego’s INK 180 tattoo shop and ministry. Baker approached Anthony, R-Plainfield, with the idea to help these victims who are often tattooed against their will. These tattoos often look like bar codes found in the retail industry and are used to brand the victim, according to a news release from Anthony’s office.
Current Illinois law prohibits tattoo artists from performing work on minors without the presence of a parent or guardian; including tattoo removal. This bill allows a person under 18 years of age who is a victim of human trafficking, involuntary sexual or other servitude, or those who have been a streetgang member to seek removal from a licensed establishment in Illinois.
“Sadly, law enforcement officers discover victims of sex trafficking every day in Illinois,” Anthony said in the release. “Many of these victims do not have parents or legal guardians, and the law should make it easier for them to have those tattoos removed. I commend Chris Baker and his ministry for their work on behalf of these victims and for inspiring this legislation.”
The bill was unanimously approved in the House and now advances to the Senate, where it will be sponsored by Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris.