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Nebraska leaders cheer passage of sex trafficking penalties

Nebraska lawmakers held a press conference after passing a bill strengthening human trafficking punishments. (State Senator Patty Pansing Brooks Facebook page)

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) Elected officials and community leaders are applauding the passage of a Nebraska bill that will result in longer prison sentences for people who buy and sell sex.

Leaders gathered Tuesday at the Capitol after senators voted 48-0 to pass the bill. The measure's sponsor, Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln, says it will stop people who commit horrific crimes from just getting probation.

The bill will allow prison sentences of up to 50 years for trafficking an adult and life for trafficking a child. Attorney General Doug Peterson says these penalties demonstrate Nebraska will not tolerate slavery.

Women's Fund of Omaha Policy Director Traci Bruckner says the next step to combat trafficking is supporting female victims and potential victims.

The measure now heads to Gov. Pete Ricketts for approval.

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