Lawmakers introduce bills to combat human trafficking

Over the last decade, law enforcement agencies across the nation have been cracking down on human trafficking, launching more investigations, making more arrests, prosecuting more cases and sending more people to prison.

This has been the case here in Wisconsin, which Attorney General Brad Schimel has indicated still faces something of an uphill battle. Indeed, the Milwaukee metropolitan area has recently earned a reputation as being a major hub for this type of criminal activity.   

In an attempt to further enhance efforts to combat human trafficking in the Dairy State, state lawmakers have now proposed two bills, one of which is designed to crack down on those individuals with multiple convictions for the crime of patronizing prostitutes.

The first bill, sponsored by Sen. Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac), and Reps. Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc) and Amanda Stuck (D-Appleton), calls for a third conviction for patronizing prostitutes to be treated as a felony.

The sponsors of the bill, which has gained the support of the state Department of Justice, argued that targeting repeat offenders will not only fairly punish those who enable human trafficking, but also help curb the practice itself.

The second bill, sponsored by Rep. Andre Jacque (D-DePere), would require that anyone convicted of soliciting or patronizing prostitutes, or keeping a place of prostitution would be required to pay a $5,000 fine. These funds, in turn, would be allocated to law enforcement agencies to offset investigatory costs, and to organizations that provide services and treatment to victims of human trafficking.    

While it's too early to tell whether the bills will pass, the aforementioned support of the state DOJ and the law enforcement community suggest that the chances are relatively good.

Stay tuned for updates …

Consider speaking with an experienced legal professional who can protect your rights and your future as soon as possible if you've been charged with a serious criminal offense or are under investigation.

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