Bills to toughen Louisiana’s anti-human trafficking and sex offender laws Tuesday moved within one step of final approval Tuesday.
Both proposals were approved by the Senate Judiciary C Committee. They next face full Senate action.
Both measures won lopsided approval in the House.
The human trafficking measure is aimed at penalizing anyone involved in the activity, not just the lead offenders.
State Rep. Walter Leger, D-New Orleans, and sponsor of the bill, said it would add penalties against those who “facilitate” human trafficking, including aid and assistance or benefiting from the practice.
State law already makes human trafficking illegal.
Violators face fines of up to $10,000 and 10 years in prison, more if it involves sexual activity and still more if the victim is under age 18.
Law enforcement officials said previously that the law needs to be strengthened because an influx of “pimps” from outside the state are coming to Louisiana.
Leger’s proposal, House Bill 49, passed the committee without objection. It cleared the House last month 98-0.
Meanwhile, the same committee approved a bill aimed at penalizing sex offenders who alter identification cards or a driver’s license that spells out their status.
State Rep. Ricky Templet, R-Gretna, and sponsor of the bill, said law enforcement officials have found that sex offenders stopped for questioning or who apply for jobs have erased the words “sex offender” in orange that is supposed to be on the identification.