Nebraska human trafficking bill seeks to help survivors

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Sex trafficking victims with a prostitution conviction could clear their criminal record under a bill Nebraska lawmakers will consider this year, the latest step in a larger effort to protect people who were coerced into prostitution.

The bill would allow human trafficking survivors to ask a judge to set aside their conviction and seal their criminal record for offenses they committed while under a trafficker's influence.

Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln says the measure is part of a push to focus less on punishing trafficking survivors and more on targeting traffickers and people who purchase sex.

Lawmakers have taken a more aggressive approach to human trafficking in the last five years. Recent laws increased the penalties for traffickers and buyers and allowed former victims to sue their traffickers.