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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Bill would regulate escort industry

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

McCOOK, Nebraska -- Sen. Mark Christensen has again introduced legislation this session that attempts to regulate the escort industry in Nebraska.

Sen. Christensen has previously called Interstate 80 one of the main sex trafficking corridors in the nation and believes that regulating the escort industry is a key part of tackling the problem.

Sen. Christensen said during a 2011 human trafficking seminar in McCook that the problem was very difficult for law enforcement to tackle with existing laws, because the girls involved were typically in the state for less than a week.

At least one organization agrees with the senator. The American Center for Law & Justices and Shared Hope International performed an analysis of state laws and in early 2012 graded Nebraska with an F, stating "insufficient protective laws may fail child victims of sex trafficking."

Their full report card and legislative methodology used for the analysis can be found at: www.sharedhope.org

Sen. Christensen's repeat bill focusing on the problem, LB 314, attempts to make it easier for law enforcement to go after the people controlling escort services, which is believed to be more effective than arresting the escorts themselves.

The bill adopts the Escort Services Accountability and Permit Act, which sets permit requirements and regulations for escort agencies and their employees.

The act not only establishes licensing and application requirements, but also defines several unlawful scenarios. Among those are advertising as an escort agency without a permit, allowing escorts to be in a state of nudity or semi-nudity in the presence of a patron, and vice-versa, just to name a few.

LB 314 is accompanied by another bill, LB 315, which redefines massage therapy and changes license requirements for that industry. Sen. Christensen told members of the McCook Area Chamber of Commerce Thursday, during their weekly legislative conference call at the Keystone Business Center, that concerns were raised from the pedicure industry that provisions in the escort services act would prevent feet rubbing during a typical pedicure, prompting the need to for further legislation pertaining to massage therapy.

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