female handcuffs closeup
© Getty ImagesA female prisoner in handcuffs at jail.
Colorado Democrats killed a bill this month that would have created a mandatory minimum sentence of four years for child prostitution. Under the current law, people who commit sex offenses against children can be charged with probation-eligible offenses.

"Probation-eligible offenses" refers to crimes for which a judge has the discretion to sentence the offender to probation instead of incarceration.

House Bill 1092 was postponed indefinitely in the House's State, Civic, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee — dubbed the "kill committee" by state lawmakers — by an 8 to 3 party-line vote. Postponing a bill indefinitely is a legislative tool used to terminate the main motion without taking a direct vote.

Some Democrats in the state legislature oppose mandatory minimum sentencing, arguing that minorities are disproportionately incarcerated and that the law is duplicative.

Members of the Colorado Public Defender's Office and the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar have testified against it. A public defender handout argued the bill "is unnecessary because in most circumstances across Colorado, these crimes are charged concurrently with Human Trafficking."

Under the bill, offenses like soliciting, pandering and pimping a child would carry a minimum four-year prison term. Additionally, pandering involving intimidation would result in a minimum eight-year sentence.

On Feb. 15, more than 50 witnesses reportedly crowded a Colorado Capitol hearing room, with nearly all voicing support for the bill. Most were adult survivors recounting being sold into the sex trade as children, often by family or friends, some unaware of the buyers, according to a Colorado Politics report.

One of the survivors, Kelly Dore, testified that her father was given a sentence of less than one year for selling her in exchange for drugs for 14 years, beginning when she was just one year old. After he was released, he continued to victimize female members of her family, she said.

"I can't tell you the number or the hundreds of men that I was forced to sleep with. My earliest memories, I was still in diapers, and I was born thinking that this is what all little girls do, that this is what we're supposed to do," she said.

According to Arapahoe County District Attorney John Kellner, the bill would have targeted perpetrators who "do not see full justice because of the way that our statutes currently exist." He said that of the 33 sex trafficking cases he prosecuted in the last two years, only a third of those convicted got any actual time behind bars.

The problem of sex trafficking minors and child prostitution has reached nationwide heights. Last year, FBI and state agencies rescued 27 sex trafficking victims in Colorado over the course of two days as part of a rescue campaign. Eight of them were minors.

As such, the Denver Gazette Editorial Board reported that Colorado falls in the top 20 states for human sex trafficking and called the vote against harsher penalties "inconceivable."

"They sent a message that Colorado doesn't care much about adults who use child prostitutes. Just as soft-on-crime drug laws have attracted drug dealers and traffickers, this will bring in people who sell children for sex and those who patronize them," the editorial board wrote.

In a previous Fox News Digital article, Geoff Rogers, co-founder of the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking, said the U.S. "is the No. 1 consumer of sex worldwide."

"So, we are driving the demand as a society," he said.