Proposed Nevada law could slap years of prison time onto sentences for sex traffickers
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - A proposed Nevada law would give sex traffickers years of prison time if they try to lure juveniles online and are caught by law enforcement posing as children.
Senate Bill 89 seeks to close what sex trafficking victim advocates describe as a legal loophole for perpetrators to avoid jail time, once caught by law enforcement through surveillance. According to the bill, a sex trafficker who is trying to lure children online and responds to an officer posing as a juvenile could face a Class A felony, an automatic life sentence, and a minimum parole time of five to fifteen years. The minimum time for parole will depend on the age of the officer’s online profile-- and the age of their desired sex trafficking victim.
“The younger the person is, or they believe that the individual to be -- the harsher the penalties,” said State Senator Heidi Seevers Gansert, of Reno’s District 15. “It’s well known that youth are lured into trafficking in a very early age, and we want to do everything we can to make sure that there’s significant penalties,” she said. The lawmaker had previously pushed for and passed a bill regarding online predators and juveniles.
Throughout January, Human Trafficking Awareness month, various agencies across the Silver State sought to shed light on resources for victims. Nevada has one of the highest rates of sex trafficking in the nation. Since 2007, The National Human Trafficking Hotline has received 4,408 calls from someone in Nevada that needs help. A third of victims are exploited in hotels, the hotline said.
SB 89 also seeks to extend the window for applications for aid from the Victims of Crime Fund from 24 months to 48 months. “Those funds can be used for housing, for education, for child care, for all sorts of different things, which will help them get back on their feet. And in the end, that’s what we want. We want to make sure that they have extra time, because of the healing process,” Seevers Gansert said.
The bill has bipartisan support so far, co-sponsored by Democrat State Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro of Las Vegas.
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