Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

New human trafficking bill would issue $5,000 fine if caught trying to buy sexSubmitted: 02/19/2020
Maya Reese
Maya Reese
Reporter
mreese@wjfw.com

New human trafficking bill would issue $5,000 fine if caught trying to buy sex
RHINELANDER - Lawmakers and non-profits across the state are pushing for new legislation to increase the penalty for those involved with human trafficking. 

Eye Heart World Co-founder and Director Season Russo says using the human body as a product makes it easier to sell over and over again.

"With drug trafficking you can sell a dime bag once you sell drugs once and they're used up, they're gone," says Russo. "But if you can get into human trafficking, which is the second most profitable criminal industry, you can lure in a young girl or lady - lure her in and she can turn 6, 8, 10, 12 tricks at night."

Tricks, meaning a sex act ranging from 30 minutes to an hour. Russo says the problem is more widespread than you may think, with reported cases in every single county in Wisconsin. It affects girls of ever race, age, and socio-economic background.

"It could be a young girl that has been running away for years, it could be a young girl in the foster care system," says Russo. "It could be a teen girl that's in a great home with two parents in the home that gets lured in because of social media."

A new bill, that would create a $5,000 fine for those caught trying to buy sex, has passed the state Senate by unanimous vote of 32-to-0. State Senator Andre Jacque says both Democrats and Republicans see the importance of protecting Wisconsin's youth.

"Right now it actually is cheaper for people to pay the fine for sex trafficking then it is for what they would actually pay out in many cases for purchasing sex," said Jacque. "But really what this bill does is not only increases penalties for sex trafficking, but then it also provides additional funding for victim services."

Half of that fine would also be used for investigations surrounding internet crimes against children. Jacque says one of the main reasons Wisconsin is a hub for sex trafficking is due to its easy access to Chicago and Minneapolis along Highway 94.

"It's very easy for, based on demand, for people to go up the highway and follow major sporting events," said Jacque. "It's something where it's very easy for - largely women - to be sold into sexual slavery and for their pimps to traffic them across the entire state."

This bill has been waiting to be voted on by the state Assembly for a couple weeks. If it passes, Governor Ever has already said he supports the bill.


Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

NORTHERN WISCONSIN - May 26 marks the date Gov. Evers' "Safer at Home" extension was set to expire.

Although multiple businesses reopened within the last two weeks, many government buildings and local municipalities still remain closed.

Ten counties still remain locked down after imposing their own version of Evers' safer at home order. However, legal confusion follows shortly behind their decision.

The State Supreme Court's ruling left it up to counties and individual businesses on how to operate, with some guidance from places like the WEDC.

+ Read More

ST. GERMAIN - Images of Highway 51 clogged with tourists emerged over the Memorial Day weekend.

The seasonal tourist traffic presents both an opportunity and a challenge for local businesses.

St. Germain Chamber of Commerce director Penny Strom says most businesses in Vilas County are ready for the crowds.

Neither tourists or businesses have any restrictions placed upon them by the state, but are encouraged to follow local guidelines.

Strom observed that tourists were mostly respectful toward the locals over the weekend.

+ Read More

MADISON - The Wisconsin Supreme Court is allowing circuit courts to resume in-person hearings and jury trials if they can come up with plans to protect participants and observers from the coronavirus.

The high court suspended in-person hearings and jury trials in March, ordering judges to move trials to a date after May 22.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - Farmers and ranchers who have been financially hurt by the coronavirus have the opportunity to get aid from the federal government starting today (Tuesday).

Applications for the USDA's "Coronavirus Food Assistance Program" will be accepted through Aug. 28.

+ Read More

EAGLE RIVER - Graduating seniors would normally get their diplomas around this time of year.

Although COVID-19 has cancelled in-person ceremonies, school districts are finding clever ways to honor their graduates.

Northland Pines printed up a poster for every graduating senior in the class of 2020.

The district hung these posters in downtown Eagle River last week and they are now with students at home.

Although the grads are disappointed in the lack of a formal ceremony, they were happy to see their accomplishments recognized.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Hodag Country Fest is on this year, after the Oneida County Public Safety Committee approved a large gathering permit.

Nearly everybody in the public comment period were against a permit for Hodag Fest. Two-thirds of emails regarding Hodag fest were against it. After all of this, the committee voted 4 to 1 to approve the permit.

Oneida County Public Health Department head Linda Conlon spoke out against the permit.

She cited Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation guidelines limit programmed events to 50 people. Hodag Fest regularly attracts tens of thousands of people.

Conlon said Hodag fest will bring in tourists from areas with a lot of infections.

"We are drawing people in from areas in the state of Wisconsin with higher levels of COVID-19 positives," said Conlon.

Dawn Eckert, a Hodag fest organizer, also spoke at the meeting. She said at-risk individuals will stay home whether they hold the Hodag or not.

"With the number of tourists already visiting the area, and Wal-mart being packed, Menards, Home Depot, the restaurants, the bars… How does what the high risk group need to do to protect themselves change by us having the festival?" said Eckert.

Committee member Mitchell Ives voted in favor of the permit, saying it comes down to personal choice.

"I believe it's up to the individual person if they don't want to go to a restaurant to eat, they don't have to," said Ives. "If they don't want to go to the Country Fest, they don't have to. That's our right. And I think as a private business I think these people have a right to do it."

Committee member Billie Fried was the only dissenting vote. He said he couldn't support a gathering of this magnitude in good conscience.

"I totally get that we want to give individuals that own businesses the right to do business," said Fried. "This is a whole different ball of wax, though. This is a nine-day event with thousands, not 200, not 1000 people."

The permit was approved with 25 conditions submitted by Hodag fest. The conditions are listed below:

+ Read More

Play Video

NORTHERN WISCONSIN - The National Weather Service is worried that people don't always know how to interpret or understand these phrases, so they're proposing an idea to help simplify things.

It's called "Hazard Simplification." It's a project launched in 2014 by the National Weather Service to help simplify communication and meaning of its alerts.

"Watches are basically a heads up that warning conditions might be present," said Warning Coordination Meteorologist Joe Moore. "Warnings are usually for some type of life and property threatening situation. And advisories are more heads up messages where people may need to use caution, sort of a thing."

This isn't a new project. They've done some work already.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: