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As I See It

Safe Harbor bill finally deserves a vote

Scott Robert Shaw



Sex trafficking remains a problem in Wisconsin. All 72 counties have reported cases of sex trafficking. But now some state lawmakers are working to try to end the problem. One piece of legislation would change the way victims of sex trafficking are treated. Right now girls who are victims of sex trafficking can end up being charged with prostitution. The so called Safe Harbor Law would put an end to that practice. That makes sense. As supporters point out, there is no such thing as a child prostitute, because children are not capable of giving consent. If approved, the Safe Harbor Law would ensure that those who are trafficked are longer treated as criminals. Instead they would be provided with food, shelter and a safe place to live. That is much more humane than labeling them as prostitutes. But this legislation has been introduced in the state capital before. In fact, it has been introduced at least three other times, but despite bipartisan support, has never even made it to the floor of the legislature for a vote. This bill deserves a vote and it deserves to become law. Minnesota is one of 34 states that have passed a safe harbor provision, and in that state trafficking convictions have increased significantly. Wisconsin lawmakers should work to pass this law and ensure that sex trafficking victims are not also victimized by the state when they finally have the courage to come forward.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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