CARSON CITY — Sen. Pat Spearman isn’t God.
But the sponsor of Senate Bill 488, which would add offenses to Nevada sex trafficking laws, wants to punish people involved in sex trafficking.
The North Las Vegas Democrat and Senate co-majority whip said the legislation fits well with the idea of Assembly Bill 145, which extends the statute of limitations for victims of child sexual abuse to sue perpetrators. Gov. Brian Sandoval signed that bill into law Wednesday.
“I believe that this is a very good companion bill because, in my opinion, anyone who engages in this type of conduct, especially with a child — I’m just glad I’m not God,” Spearman told the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
Under the bill, arranging, paying or providing for the transportation of a trafficking victim for the purpose of prostitution, or advertising and selling travel services knowing that the traveler is planning to have sex, would be considered sex trafficking. The bill also calls those actions sex trafficking if they are tied to child pornography.
Sex trafficking is a felony punishable by three to 10 years in prison. A life sentence is possible if the victim is a child, with parole eligibility based on the victim’s age.
Kimberly Mull, a policy specialist with the Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, told lawmakers she was a victim of child pornography, and the crime has lasting effects.
“They (pictures) are still floating around cyberspace, and they’re still being traded,” Mull said.
The bill also would require the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services to develop a Medicaid service package called the Sexual Trauma Services Guide to help victims who are eligible for Medicaid.
“No little girl grows up thinking: ‘I want to be a prostitute one day,’” Mull said. “None of us think that it’s something that happens to you.”
The Nevada District Attorneys Association and the Metropolitan Police Department support the bill.
John Piro of the Clark County public defender’s office gave “limited opposition” to the bill, saying the language is too broad.
The committee did not take action Thursday on the bill, which passed the Senate unanimously.
Contact Ben Botkin at email@example.com or 775-461-0661. Follow @BenBotkin1 on Twitter.
National Human Trafficking Hotline statistics
- 243 calls received from Nevada in 2016.
- 161 trafficking cases reported in 2016, most of them sex trafficking.
- 1,411 calls received from Nevada since 2007.
- 643 trafficking cases from Nevada since 2007.
Source: National Human Trafficking Hotline.