Legislature approves harsher human trafficking penalties

The Nebraska Legislature has approved a bill (LB 289) that stiffens penalties for human trafficking. As reported in the Omaha World-Herald:

State lawmakers last week passed a bill that dramatically increases penalties for those who create the supply and demand for human trafficking. A minimum of one year in prison is likely for panderers and solicitors in such transactions. If children are exploited, both the pimps and johns could spend the rest of their lives in prison.

No senators voted against the bill, though some did raise questions about it, including whether or not it will be effective.

“As a general rule, where there is a demand, a supply will develop,” said State Sen. Paul Schumacher of Columbus, a former prosecutor. “It may be a bit of a deterrent, but a solution it probably isn’t.”

Advocates and experts say they are unaware of research that would show whether tougher punishments produce a noticeable drop in trafficking activity. While more scientific studies on human trafficking are being done, it’s still a growing area of research, one said.

Read more in the Omaha World-Herald.

Text of LB 289

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