New Legislative Bill Helps Sex Trafficking Victims in Nebraska

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Nebraska lawmakers are working to pass a bill that will help sex trafficking victims.

“Sex trafficking is an enormous deal in Nebraska,” Elizabeth Power said. She works for the Women’s Center for Advancement.

Lawmakers are picking through the Legislative Bill 1132. It will clear any prostitution convictions that a person may have related to trafficking.

“If they’re able to exit human trafficking and they have the desire to build a normal life for themselves, it’s critical that some of those charges be wiped clean from their record.”

Under the bill, survivors must prove they were trafficked using phone records, online ads, sworn testimony or other evidence to prevent people from abusing the system.

Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln says the measure is part of a push to focus less on punishing trafficking survivors and more on targeting traffickers and people who purchase sex.

“It’s an important part of our law to make sure that we’re not falsely accusing people of crimes they didn’t commit, and holding people accountable for the crimes they did commit,” Power said.

Lawmakers have taken a more aggressive approach to human trafficking in the last five years, passing laws to increase penalties for traffickers and buyers, allow former victims to sue their traffickers and provide legal immunity to trafficking victims who are caught working as prostitutes.

“It’s not just having that legislation in services available for victims, but also making sure we’re holding perpetrators accountable for their actions, if anything to help people detour for taking those actions.”

She’s hoping this bill will pass to protect those who are afraid to come forward.

“I hope that they learn about this, I hope this gives them courage and makes them proud to be in the state of Nebraska.”

The bill was first reviewed January 18, 2018.