Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: February 17, 2010
Measures Targeting Human Trafficking Continue Through Legislature
With as many as 17,000 victims of human trafficking brought
into the United States each year, those captives wind up in every state
in the nation, including Oklahoma. That’s according to Sen. Clark
Jolley who won approval by the Senate Appropriations Committee on
Wednesday for a measure directed at human trafficking. A second measure,
by Sen. Todd Lamb
was approved by both chambers last session and is awaiting final consideration
in the 2010 session.
“These victims are brought here with the promise of legitimate work
and a better life, and then have their identification stolen and are basically
held as slaves until they can pay exorbitant fees to their captors,”
said Jolley, R-Edmond. “Their lives and those of their families
are threatened if they don’t do what they’re told. Often the
victims, including children, are forced into prostitution.”
Jolley said Senate Bill 2258 would increase penalties in Oklahoma related
to the crime of human trafficking, such as stealing or destroying another
person’s official identification. The bill would also get critical
information to victims to help them make their way to safety.
“This is something that’s already being done in other states,
including California. Notices are required to be posted in establishments
such as massage parlors explaining who to contact in order to help victims
safely escape their captors,” Jolley said.
Lamb, R-Edmond, said Senate Bill 956 contains language to better enable
victims of human trafficking to bring civil actions against their captors.
While the measure won initial approval in the 2009 session, Lamb said
he is continuing to refine his legislation this session before bringing
it to the floor for a final vote.
“According to the U.S. State Department, human trafficking is now
the third-largest world-wide criminal activity, behind drugs and arms
dealing,” Lamb said. “Through the years we’ve worked
to strengthen laws aimed at international drug cartels that have made
their way into Oklahoma. It’s just as important that our state works
to ensure our laws are as effective as possible when it comes to criminals
who profit from this heinous crime.”
For more information contact:
Sen. Jolley: 405-521-5622
Sen. Lamb: 405-521-5632