Bills would crack down on local human trafficking

By: Bill Schammert

It's a problem many don't generally think of here in the Cornhusker state, human trafficking.  But, two Nebraska senators say it's an all-too-real issue and they're proposing multiple bills to try and curtail the problem.

It started last year when Sen. Amanda McGill of Lincoln and Sen. Mark Christensen of Imperial created a human trafficking task force.

“Anytime anyone is put into a slavery type position, we need to ensure Nebraska remains a slave-free state,” Al Riskowski said. 

Riskowski was part of the task force and is the Executive Director for the Nebraska Family Council.

“We want human trafficking to include minors who are being held against their will, forced into labor or sex-trade,” he said.

As part of Sen. McGill's bill, she is proposing we prevent children under 18 from being prosecuted for prostitution.  She also wants the names of those convicted of solicitation to be published on a website for six months and to add human trafficking of a minor to the definition of child abuse.

“We know it's a problem and we know it's here in Nebraska,” Riskowski said.

Sen. Mark Christensen's bill would focus on cracking down on escort services.

His bill would require escorts to obtain and carry permits, forbid nudity or any sort of sexual touching, and make it illegal for those under 18 years of age to use an escort service.

“The more research we are doing, the more we're discovering as we look that it is very present here, and to a larger extent than we ever realized,” Riskowski said.

He also says, the FBI has already listed Omaha as one of 39 cities nationwide where trafficking is a serious problem.