Madison—Wisconsin State Reps. Leon D. Young and LaTonya Johnson of Milwaukee introduced Tuesday a bill (LRB 3309) for co-sponsorship that will benefit victims of human trafficking by allowing them the opportunity to petition the courts and have their records expunged when the charges brought against them are directly linked to them being trafficked. The following statement was released after announcing this newly proposed legislation: “Human trafficking is a growing concern in the state and it is time to start rethinking the issue and providing some relief to those who are unfortunately forced into this servitude,” Young said in a statement. “Our proposal is modeled after legislation recently passed in Florida and signed into law by Governor Rick Scott who labeled human trafficking a form of ‘modern day slavery.’ Young said Wisconsin recognizes the urgency with human trafficking and the need to tackle the issue from every angle possible. Senator Harris and Representative LaTonya Johnson have also circulated a bill (LRB 3168) for co-sponsorship, which seeks to change the definition of human trafficking. The state legislator added, under current law, prosecutors have too often fallen short of convicting traffickers due to the condition that prosecutors must prove the trafficking was done without the victim’s consent. “This is clearly problematic because there is often a substantial level of mental manipulation on behalf of the trafficker,” Young said. “With the successful passage of LRB 3309 and LRB 3168, I believe we will be in a better position to confront the practice of human trafficking. We can hold more traffickers accountable while deterring others, and we can also help rebuild the integrity of those trafficked, putting them in a position to help other victims.”
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