Human trafficking, sexual abuse bill passed

Senators passed a bill May 24 to extend and eliminate certain statutes of limitation for labor and sex trafficking.

<a href='http://news.legislature.ne.gov/dist01' target='_blank' title='Link to the website of Sen. Julie Slama'>Sen. Julie Slama</a>
Sen. Julie Slama

LB519, introduced by Peru Sen. Julie Slama, eliminates a statute of limitation for creation of child pornography or labor or sex trafficking of a minor.

The bill increases the statute of limitations from three years to seven for labor or sex trafficking of an adult. It extends the statute of limitations for possession of child pornography to seven years, or seven years beyond a victim’s 18th birthday.

It also allows law enforcement to apply for wiretap authorization to intercept electronic communications relating to labor or sex trafficking of adults and minors.

The measure includes provisions of four additional bills.

LB517, originally introduced by Lincoln Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks, allows a trafficking victim to recover damages for physical and mental pain and suffering, and the reasonable value of medical care and supplies, transportation, housing, child care, lost wages and potential relocation costs.

Pansing Brooks also introduced LB516, which requires the state Department of Health and Human Services to collect and report information on the trafficking of minor children.

Provisions of LB458, introduced by Omaha Sen. Steve Lathrop, expand the definition of child abuse to include placing a child in a situation to be sexually abused or exploited. It also expands the definition of out-of-home child abuse to include cases where the perpetrator of such abuse is not a member of the victim’s household, no longer has access to the victim or is unknown or cannot be identified.

Finally, portions of LB479, introduced by Lincoln Sen. Anna Wishart, prohibit a law enforcement officer from using consent as a defense for sexual contact with a person who is detained or in custody. The provisions also codify that any person detained by law enforcement is not able to consent to sexual contact.

Sexual penetration of a detainee will be considered first-degree sexual abuse, which is a Class IIA felony. Conviction could result in up to 20 years imprisonment. Sexual contact with a detainee will be classified as second-degree sexual abuse, which is a Class IIIA felony. It carries a penalty of up to three years in prison with 18 months of post-release supervision, a $10,000 fine or both.

Anyone convicted under these provisions will be required to register as a sex offender.

LB519 passed on a 46-0 vote.

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