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Nevada lawmakers move to protect sex trafficking victims

Updated March 22, 2019 - 6:24 pm

CARSON CITY ­— Lawmakers on Friday took up three bills related to the strengthening of laws on sex trafficking and prostitution and the protection of victims, passing two out of committee to the full Assembly for floor votes.

The Assembly Judiciary Committee heard an amended version of Assembly Bill 120, sponsored by Assemblywoman Lisa Krasner, R-Reno, which would revise the criminal definition of sex trafficking to include anyone who benefits financially from illegal prostitution. The amendments clarified that bartering goods for prostitution is the same as receiving cash.

A second change removed a broad section that could sweep up someone who indirectly or unwittingly facilitates prostitution and gets paid for it, such as a limo driver who gets tipped for driving people to a strip club. The revised bill carried testimony in support from law enforcement agencies and the Nevada Resort Association.

The bill remains before the committee for future action. Two others were approved with amendments and sent on to the full Assembly:

Assembly Bill 157, sponsored by Assemblyman John Hambrick, R-Las Vegas, and 10 others, aims to strengthen the response of state agencies and some third parties in helping trafficking victims. Two sections of the bill were removed, one that could have required police officers who have not been trained in victim assessment to make spot judgments on whether someone may be a trafficking victim, the other requiring certain businesses to post informational signs for a trafficking hotline or risk a misdemeanor charge and fines.

Assembly Bill 158, also with Hambrick as prime sponsor, would let a judge absolve trafficking victims of certain crimes committed against their abusers when they were 18 or younger. An amendment there removed a provision that would remand an adult victim case’s back to juvenile court.

Contact Bill Dentzer at bdentzer@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-0661. Follow @DentzerNews on Twitter.

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