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Lake Geneva Chiropractic

Law helps in fight against human trafficking

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May 20, 2014 | 02:37 PM
Human trafficking is a dangerous type of criminal activity that lurks in the shadows.

Last summer, 10 children in Wisconsin were rescued from child trafficking as part of a nationwide FBI investigation. Wisconsin’s number of children rescued was the second highest state total in the nation. In addition, 100 suspects were arrested and 12 adult victims rescued.

To better address this problem, Assembly Bill 620, authored by Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, was recently enacted into law. The new law makes human trafficking enforcement tools more effective and protects the victims of human trafficking.

First, the new law allows a victim of human trafficking to have a prostitution conviction vacated or expunged and limits the ability to prosecute minors engaged in prostitution. Victims forced to engage in such illegal acts may be told by traffickers that if they are caught, they will go to prison, rather than the trafficker.

Second, the law provides victims greater rights to confidentiality. At times, victims who come into contact with law enforcement may be afraid to reveal the horrific conditions under which they survived, fearing traffickers may retaliate against them or their families.

Finally, the new law provides a unified process to incorporate the forfeiture of property into a human trafficking case, expands the definition of “commercial sex act,” eliminates nonconsent as part of the definition of “trafficking,” and allows evidence of any similar acts by the accused to be admitted in court for pending trafficking and child sex crimes.

The DOJ provides assistance to victims of human trafficking through its Office of Crime Victim Services (OCVS). The OCVS offers resources for crime victims and their emotional and psychological challenges, compensates them for certain financial losses, and provides assistance in exercising victim rights in the criminal justice system.

The OCVS Helpline is available for anyone in need of services at (800)446-6564, or by visiting its Web site at http://www.doj.state.wi.us/ocvs/office-crime-victim-services. The DOJ urges residents to educate themselves about the signs of human trafficking, and to contact local law enforcement to report any suspicious activity.

As a society, we must be vigilant against this type of criminal activity. The safety of our communities and children and the respect for all humans is worth taking a stand against this injustice.

Senator Kedzie can be reached in Madison at P.O. Box 7882, Madison, WI 53707-7882 or by calling toll-free 1 (800) 578-1457. He may be reached in the district at (262) 742-2025 or online at www.senatorkedzie.com.

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