The Pryor Times

February 22, 2013

Human trafficking bill approved

OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation creating a process to expunge the prostitution record of human trafficking victims has been approved unanimously by the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

House Bill 1058, by state Rep. Sally Kern, was approved by a 99-0 vote and now advances to the state Senate.

“I think the unanimous support of this bill is a sign that awareness is growing of what a problem we have in the United States with human traffickers,” said Kern, R-Oklahoma City. “These traffickers use physical violence, intimidation, drug dependencies and the isolation of their victims to get them to prostitute themselves and I believe their victims should be able to get a clean slate if they get away from their victimizers.”

Kern said lawmakers approved a bill she authored last year to ensure trafficking acts are crimes in Oklahoma.

“Unfortunately, there have been numerous oversights in Oklahoma statutes regarding trafficking because it is so hidden from most of us. I am glad that awareness is increasing and that we can start to fight back against traffickers who threaten the young people in our communities.”

Several trafficking-related proposals are up for consideration this year and 37 other states are looking at 200 more, according to the Polaris Project.