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This past session, I introduced a bill to help combat human trafficking in Nebraska. The U.S. government has identified human trafficking as a federal crime, and it is the fastest-growing criminal industry globally. In 2006, Nebraska passed a law that outlawed human trafficking. This crime is typically an out of sight, out of mind problem in our state, but its prevalence is alarming. Since 2007, there have been 229 cases reported and 879 calls to the human trafficking hotline in our state. In the past year, there have been 36 cases reported. The Governor’s Task Force on Human Trafficking states 47 Nebraska girls aged 18 or younger are known to be trafficked each year.
Human trafficking is a highly profitable business, driven by the demand for cheap or free labor and the demand for commercial sex. The International Labor Organization estimates the annual profit from the exploitation of all trafficked labor is $31.6 billion. Just like any business, demand drives the supply.
Senator Patty Pansing Brooks has been a strong advocate for combating human trafficking in Nebraska. Her efforts have made strides in limiting this crime. Over the past few years, there has been legislation that has turned Nebraska in the right direction on ending this crime. Notable laws range from expunging related records of convictions to providing sexual assault protection orders. LB 519, my bill which passed in May, is the most comprehensive crackdown on human trafficking yet. It extends the statute of limitations for criminal charges against traffickers, ensures that all children who have been victimized by human trafficking equal access to resources for their recovery, and details damages victims may be awarded if they due their traffickers in civil court.
I plan to continue to work on combating human trafficking in the state of Nebraska. With the positive efforts from my colleagues and myself, we can send a strong, united message against this heinous crime.
As always, I welcome your input on issues important to you. Follow along on my Facebook and Twitter pages, both entitled “Senator Julie Slama” for more updates, or contact me directly at: Senator Julie Slama, District 1 State Capitol, PO Box 94604, Lincoln NE 68509-4604; telephone: 402-471-2733; email: email@example.com.