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Crime and Courts

Human Trafficking Laws Updated

Gov. Sam Brownback has signed into law a bill to combat human trafficking and exploitation of underage sex workers.

The governor signed the bill Monday, saying it will provide increased criminal penalties and services for victims of sexual exploitation.

"This would not only strengthen our ability to severly punish traffickers," said Brownback. "It would give us valuable new tools to protect vulnerable young victims so they can have hope of a new life and break the cycle of exploitation."

The bill modifies Kansas human trafficking laws passed nearly a decade ago.

It creates the crime of commercial sexual exploitation of a child, covering those ages 14 to 17 and will establish a fund financed with fines and forfeiture of property from people convicted of sex crimes.

The revenue will be used to pay for treatment and services for the victims.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt says part of the goal is shifting the focus from underage victims who work in the sex industry to people who buy their services.