Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is modern-day slavery in which people profit from exploiting others through force, fraud, coercion or deception. The U.S. government has identified human trafficking as the fastest growing criminal industry globally, tied with illegal arms trade at second, with the drug trade in first place.

An estimated 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked annually into the United States for the purpose of forced labor or sex trafficking.  An estimated 200,000 American children are at high risk for trafficking into the sex industry each year. ( )

In 2000 the United States made human trafficking a federal crime with the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). Nebraska also passed a law in 2006 that made human trafficking illegal, although there are many limitations in the law that make it hard to enforce and prosecute traffickers. This issue matters because of the injustice it causes to those who become victims of this monstrous crime.

Current Human Trafficking Bills

LB 294: Adopt the Human Trafficking Victims Civil Remedy Act
Introduced by: Senator Scheer

LB294 increases the penalties for pandering and for the solicitation of prostitutes. Pandering, or enticing another person to become a prostitute, becomes a Class III felony instead of a Class IV felony. For second and subsequent offenses, pandering becomes a Class II, instead of a Class III felony.

Penalties for solicitation of prostitution are also increased under LB 294 from a Class I misdemeanor to a Class IV felony. An offender’s second and subsequent convictions are treated as Class III felonies.

The bill also amends a loophole that gives minors suspected of prostitution immunity from criminal prosecution as an adult. Instead, minors, after a reasonable detention by police for investigative purposes, are subject to juvenile court jurisdiction. Generally, the intent is to remove the minor from their environment and not to prosecute them, but to enroll them in a program to help keep them from human trafficking in the future.

As it stands, the law gives pimps incentive to prey upon minors and make them prostitutes because they are essentially immune from prosecution.

Status: LB294 has been voted out of committee and will be heard by the full legislature beginning April 20th.

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