Senate committee passes human trafficking legislation
By Jackelyn Severin
The Senate Judiciary committee passed a bill making human trafficking illegal in South Dakota.
Representative Joni Cutler of Sioux Falls is the main sponsor of Senate Bill 176. She says South Dakota has several laws that cite prostitution or solicitation for prostitution as illegal. But, she says, law enforcement, prosecutors and victims have no way to identify human trafficking as a crime.
Susan Omenson works with the anti-trafficking organization called Be Free based out of Sioux Falls. She says human trafficking is a problem in South Dakota.
Omenson says, "We have issues that are quite huge during the hunting season and during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. And in a very real way this can be described as sex tourism."
The Senate Judiciary committee passed the measure with a unanimous vote. It now goes to the Senate floor for further debate.
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