Nevada bills crack down on profiting from child sex workers, luring students | Carson City Nevada News
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Legislature March 2, 2023 in Carson City after a winter storm. (David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)
Carly Sauvageau and Naoka Foreman, The Nevada Independent
Lawmakers are considering a bill, AB157, that would impose harsher penalties on those who live off the earnings of child sex workers than on those who live off the earnings of adult sex workers.
Under existing law, someone who earns a living from any sex worker — minor or adult — can spend one to five years in a state prison if the sex worker is physically forced or threatened to perform prostitution, and one to four years if there is no threat. imposed on the sex worker.
Under the bill, if the sex worker is a child, a person living off that income could face one to 10 years in state prison if physical force or threats were not used against the child sex worker, and at least three to in 10 years. years if physical force is used.
“As a former member of the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees, I recently became aware, before I left the board, that sex trafficking is actually happening within our school district and not just our own,” Assemblywoman Angie Taylor. (D-Reno), AB157’s sponsor, said during a hearing in the Assembly Judiciary Committee on March 3. “It’s happening all over the state.”
Supporters included law enforcement agencies and nonprofit organizations.
“Simply put, we support any measure to hold perpetrators of child trafficking accountable,” said Serena Evans, policy director of the Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence.
Public defenders from Clark County and Washoe County testified in opposition, calling for a more nuanced conversation about how the law would affect victims.
“It’s a Class A crime to traffic a child, that behavior is covered, right? We can’t make that penalty any higher,” said Erica Roth with the Washoe County Public Defender’s Office. “What we can do is risk bringing more people into the system to continue to be victimized once by their pimps and then again by an unfair system. It’s really important to understand how these allegations affect victims, because they do.”
A representative from the Nevada State Department of Criminal Justice also testified in opposition, saying it could inadvertently affect young people who have been kicked out of their homes because they are gay or transgender and have turned to sex work for a living, but are not necessarily being trafficked.
“If these children live together, they support each other economically. This could technically make them prosecuted for living off the earnings of a prostitute,” said Jim Hoffman with the Nevada Department of Criminal Justice. “We don’t want this to be misconstrued as something that can be used to prosecute victims of sex trafficking.”
The bills deal with child prostitution, school staff luring children
People seeking a child for prostitution may soon be required to undergo a psychosexual assessment, be declared a ‘moderate to low risk of reoffending’ in order to receive probation and register as an offender sexual.
Change could come if lawmakers pass SB36, a bill introduced by the attorney general’s office.
The psychosexual assessment includes tests, such as the Sexual Violence Risk 20, a 20-item checklist that determines whether someone is at low, moderate, or high risk of committing sexual violence, and the Static 2002-R, which predicts the likelihood of sexual violence. recidivism based on an assessment of “a number of factors present in each individual”.
Alissa Engler, chief of prosecutions in the attorney general’s office, said both assessments can be used before a sentencing to help craft plea deals, or after a plea is taken to determine a sentence.
But public defenders from Washoe and Clark counties and the Nevada District Attorney’s Association opposed the bill unless the changes reflect that psychosexual evaluations are provided only in cases where the underlying crime is a sex offense.
Sexting between a school employee or volunteer and a student 18 or younger could soon be a crime.
SB38 creates a new crime called “luring a schoolboy.” It is supported by the Attorney General’s office, the Nevada District Attorney’s Association and the Clark County School Police Department.
The perpetrators would be subject to lifelong supervision and the judge could prohibit the person from possessing electronic communication devices as a condition of probation.
Under the bill, a person is guilty of a Class C felony if they knowingly contact or attempt to contact or communicate with a student with the intent to cause or encourage the student to engage in sexual conduct, in person or through electronic means. They would also be guilty of the crime if they use an electronic communication device to transmit a sexual image of themselves to the student or pupil. If the conversations incite a student to commit a crime, that would also be a Class C felony under the new policy.
Under the bill, any school employee or volunteer who knowingly contacts a student who is 16 years of age or younger to encourage delinquent behavior, such as missing class, loitering, or going places without the student’s parents’ knowledge. them, are guilty of a serious misdemeanor.
Under AB183, children who are at least 10 years old and committed to county and state delinquency facilities must be screened for commercial sexual exploitation of a child, although screening can be used for a child of any age who appears at risk as the means are available. available.
The test is in addition to drug, alcohol and mental health screenings for children brought into the juvenile justice system. Child welfare agencies in Clark and Washoe counties have already begun using this method, but the new law would mandate the process statewide and require a report if a child is at risk of sexual exploitation.
Editor’s note: This story appears in the Behind the Bar newsletter, the Nevada Independent’s newspaper dedicated to comprehensive coverage of the 2023 legislative session. Sign up for the newsletter here.
— This story is used with permission from The Nevada Independent. Go here for updates on this and other Nevada Independent stories.