UPDATE: Legislators look to crack down on human traffickers - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Legislators look to crack down on human traffickers, sex offenders


MADISON (WKOW) -- A bipartisan group of state lawmakers is sponsoring legislation that would strengthen Wisconsin's human trafficking laws and do more to protect the victims of sex offenses and domestic abuse.

Sen. Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) and Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R-Clinton) authored companion bills which change a number of criminal statutes. 

Current law provides that human trafficking has only occurred if it is done without the consent of the individual being trafficked.  The bills eliminate that requirement. 

Current law also states that a person who engages in trafficking for the purposes of labor, services, or a commercial sex act is guilty of a felony if the trafficking is done by causing or threatening to cause harm to any individual; restraining or threatening to restrain any individual; or controlling any individual's access to an addictive controlled substance.  The bills add threatening to control any individual's access to an addictive controlled substance; using any scheme, pattern, or other means to coerce, threaten, or intimidate any individual; using or threatening to use force or violence on any individual; and causing or threatening to cause any individual to do any act against the individual's will or without the individual's consent.

The bills also changes the law in relation to prostitution.  Currently, a person who receives compensation from the earnings of a prostitute is guilty of a Class F felony. These bills add that a person is guilty of a Class F felony if the person knowingly receives compensation from the earnings of debt bondage or from the earnings of sexual contact or intercourse for which anything of value is given to, promised, or received by any person.

The legislation also allows people who were convicted of prostitution, while being trafficked, to request a court to vacate that conviction of expunge their record. 

The bills also makes changes to several laws regarding sex offenses, crime victims and domestic abuse.

Current law makes it a felony to expose a sex organ to a minor.  This legislation adds to that law, stating that exposing any "intimate part" would also be a felony.  That includes a breast, buttock, anus, or groin of a human being.

While current law doesn't allow prior bad acts to be used as evidence against a defendant in most cases, this bill states that in a prosecution alleging human trafficking, an offense against
a child, a serious sex offense, or a crime of domestic abuse, evidence of similar acts is generally admissible.

The bills also provides the victim of a sex crime with the right to view sentencing recommendations on any presentence report and allows the district attorney to share those recommendations.  Currently, only a judge is allowed to see those reports.
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