Lawmakers Push To Reform Trafficking Laws Pre-Super Bowl

Legislators expect to move quickly to plug a loophole in Indiana prostitution laws before the Super Bowl.

HHE Statehouse crowd

Photo: Jessica Gall

As crowds gather in Indianapolis for the 2012 Super Bowl, lawmakers may rush to change sex trafficking laws.

A study committee has recommended passage of changes urged by Attorney General Greg Zoeller to take aim at traffickers who bring adult or child prostitutes to town for the NFL‘s biggest week. The proposed law would make it a felony for anyone to sell a child for sexual purposes. Deputy Attorney General David Miller says sex traffickers have been known to target the Super Bowl.

“What’s been seen nationally is wherever there is a particular event — a drawing event, such as the Super Bowl — in Miami and Dallas when the Super Bowls were in these other locations, and in Arizona, they saw a massive increase in the trafficking,” Miller says.

Under the legislature‘s normal schedule, the House and Senate won‘t take up each other‘s bills until the day after the Super Bowl. But House Courts and Criminal Code Chairman Greg Steuerwald says he expects both chambers to speed up the process to get the bill to Governor Daniels as quickly as possible.

“There’s bipartisan support, so that’ll help expedite it,” Steuerwald says. “I plan to, as soon as it’s filed, having an immediate hearing and get it out of my committee as quickly as possible.  I’m trying to coordinate with the Senate side.”

Current law envisions only parents or guardians being in a position to be traffickers. And the proposal would extend the definition of trafficking to cover any recruiting of children for sexual conduct, even if it doesn‘t qualify as prostitution.

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