Topeka (WIBW) - Gov. Mark Parkinson has signed legislation cracking down on human trafficking in Kansas.
The new law creates authority for courts to order human traffickers to forfeit their assets, a tool that has been used effectively in combating drug trafficking and other crimes of economic opportunity.
Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt first proposed the measure.
“The intent is to take away the financial gain from the crime,” Schmidt said. “This is one more tool to help law enforcement fight human trafficking.”
The new law also will tighten the prohibition on coercing employment, a provision similar to the ban on forced labor that exists in federal law.
Schmidt said the issue came to his attention last fall when the Kansas City Star published an investigative series on human trafficking in the Kansas City metropolitan area.
One Kansan who has first-hand experience with human trafficking and who testified in support of the new legislation in the Senate Judiciary Committee is Karen Countryman-Roswurm, LSMW, who is the Founder/Coordinator of the Anti-Sexual Exploitation Roundtable.
“This legislation is a step in the right direction to protect our friends, our nieces and nephews, our children and grandchildren who have been or who are currently being physically, sexually and mentally abused through sexual exploitation,” said Countryman-Roswurm.
The new measure is contained in Substitute for Senate Bill 353.