Press Release                                                                                     February 17, 2016

For Immediate Release

Rep. Loudenbeck Bill to Combat Child Sex Trafficking Heads to Governor’s Desk

Madison – A bill authored by Representative Amy Loudenbeck (R-Clinton) and Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) to help protect and provide services for victims of sex trafficking, passed both houses of the legislature yesterday, and will now be forwarded to Governor Walker to be signed into law.

“I am proud of the progress Wisconsin has made in the past five years to fight human trafficking by providing additional tools for law enforcement and prosecutors. This bill addresses the prevention and treatment of child sex trafficking victims. The services and response provided under the bill are another huge step forward for vulnerable youth in Wisconsin,” state Rep. Loudenbeck

Senate Bill 618 aligns Wisconsin statutes with the new federal “Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act” requiring Wisconsin to conduct child abuse investigations of children who have been alleged to be victims of sex trafficking and recognize sex trafficked children as victims of child abuse and neglect. The bill expands what constitutes the crime of child sex trafficking, and includes child sex trafficking under the definition of abuse in the Children’s Code. This revised definition will require a child sex trafficking victim that is being abused by a non-caregiver to be screened in by a caseworker who may determine that a child in need of protection or services (CHIPS) order is appropriate.

“Aligning Wisconsin state statutes and policies with the new federal requirements regarding sex trafficked children will improve current child welfare practice and help victims and potential victims receive services and support to meet their complex needs and help them heal,” said Rep. Loudenbeck.