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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

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For Immediate Release: March 7, 2007

Senator Debbe Leftwich
Senator Debbe Leftwich

Senate Approves Bill to Fight Human Trafficking

Legislation to make human trafficking a felony in Oklahoma has won unanimous approval from the State Senate. Senate Bill 7, by Sen. Debbe Leftwich, would set a mandatory minimum of five years for engaging in human trafficking, and a minimum of 10 years in prison if the crime involved trafficking children 14 years of age or younger.

“Human trafficking is rampant in this country. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, between 14,500 and 17,500 men, women and children are trafficked right here in the United States,” Leftwich said. “Sometimes they are forced to work under horrendous conditions for no pay—often they are forced into prostitution. The ugly fact is slavery is alive and well in this country, and often the victims are children.”

The Department of Health and Human Services also reports that after drug dealing, trafficking of humans is tied with arms dealing as the second largest criminal industry in the world, and is the fastest growing criminal activity. According to the U.S. State Department, more than half of all trafficking victims
worldwide are children.

“We’ve had cases right here in Oklahoma where prostitution rings have been busted and law enforcement has learned those responsible were exploiting children,” Leftwich said. “My legislation gives us one more tool to go after the monsters responsible for this crime.”

SB 7 now moves to the House of Representatives for committee consideration.

For more information contact:
Senator Leftwich's Office - (405) 521-5557

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