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Assembly approves human trafficking bill

Holly Smith, 33, looks out from the porch of her home in Richmond, Va., after talking about her experiences in a child sex trafficking ring. A new report says 41 states have failed to adopt strong penalties against human trafficking, and advocates say a patchwork of differing state laws makes it difficult for authorities to target the crime. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Holly Smith, 33, looks out from the porch of her home in Richmond, Va., after talking about her experiences in a child sex trafficking ring. The Wisconsin Assembly has approved a bill that would tighten the state’s human trafficking laws and give victims a way to void any crimes they may have committed. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Assembly has approved a bill that would tighten Wisconsin’s human trafficking laws and give victims a way to void any crimes they may have committed.

Current Wisconsin law defines trafficking as recruiting, enticing, harboring or transporting someone against their consent. The bipartisan bill removes the consent element and adds using schemes to control an individual to the definition.

The proposal would allow trafficking victims to ask a judge to vacate or expunge prostitution convictions. The judge could grant the request if he or she gives the prosecutor a chance to respond and determines society won’t be harmed.

The measure also would allow evidence of similar acts into trafficking prosecutions.

The Assembly passed the bill on a voice vote Thursday. It now goes to the state Senate.

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