CHEYENNE, Wyo. – A human trafficking related bill passed on first reading in the Wyoming House of Representatives during their Wednesday, Feb. 12 session.
The House must pass the bill on two further readings before it would move to the Senate for consideration. The Joint
House District 44 Representative Sara Burlingame said the bill “does something simple.” She explained that it would add penalties for adults convicted on human trafficking charges after having been previously convicted on similar charges.
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The bill would impose a minimum 25-year prison sentence to adults who have multiple felony convictions of human trafficking.
The minimum 25-year prison sentence is already imposed when trafficking of minors leads to a conviction.
The proposed repeat offender rules would apply to anyone convicted of human trafficking after the age of 18.
Under Wyoming law “a person is guilty of human trafficking in the first degree when the person intentionally or knowingly recruits, transports, transfers, harbors, receives, provides, obtains, isolates, maintains or entices an individual” for the following purposes:
- Forced labor or servitude
- Sexual servitude
- Sexual servitude of a minor
Human trafficking is considered a second degree offense when “the person recklessly recruits, transports, transfers, harbors, receives, provides, obtains, isolates, maintains or entices an individual” for the above-named purposes.
First degree human trafficking can come with the following punishments for first time offenses:
- imprisonment for a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 50 years
- a minimum of 25 years in cases involving minors
- fines up to $10,000
Second degree human trafficking can come with the following penalties:
- imprisonment for a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 20 years
- fines up to $10,000
Both first and second degree human trafficking are considered felonies.
Committees which have been assigned these bills will vote to “pass,” “do not pass” or “pass with amendments.”
Bills which make it out of committee then return to the full House for consideration. The House then must approve a bill on three readings before it is sent to the Senate.
If the Senate passes the bill with no amendments, the bill is sent to the governor’s desk for consideration. If they tack on amendments, then the bill is assigned to the Joint Conference Committee to reconcile differences.
If that committee can reach a consensus, the bill is sent to the governor who can sign or veto the bill. The House and Senate are able to override a veto with a two-thirds majority vote.
Further details of the proposed legislation is available online.