Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: April 11, 2013
Senate sends human trafficking bills to
The growing problem of human trafficking has resulted
in Senate passage of two bills aimed at helping the victims of this
crime. House Bill 1058 by Sen. Nathan
Dahm and Rep. Sally Kern and House Bill 1067 by Sen.
A.J. Griffin and Rep. Lee Denney were approved in the Senate
A crime that affects mainly women and children, the State Department
has identified the United States as the #1 destination for child
sex trafficking. With Oklahoma at the crossroads of I-35 and I-40,
the state has seen a tremendous increase in this crime, with several
notorious cases making headlines in recent years. Dahm said HB 1058
is intended to help survivors of human trafficking.
“It allows a charge to be expunged if that person was forced
into prostitution as a victim of human trafficking,” said
Dahm, R-Tulsa. “What happens to these victims is not their
fault. They need to be able to have their record expunged in order
to move on with their lives.”
Kern said the legislation was an important step forward in how Oklahoma
deals with human trafficking.
“I think it is a necessary bill that will protect the victims
of this crime as they seek to rebuild their lives without having
the unnecessary burden of a criminal record,” said Kern, R-Oklahoma
Griffin said HB 1067 is aimed more specifically at minor victims
of human trafficking who are forced into the sex trade.
“It does several things—it requires peace officers to
notify those victims of the services that are available and make
sure the proper authorities with the Department of Human Services
are notified. It also assumes that individuals who are minors involved
in the crime of prostitution have been coerced to participate in
that activity,” said Griffin, R-Guthrie. “They are survivors
of a horrible crime and as such we need to help, not punish them.”
Denney explained it is important to recognize that when human traffickers
force children and teens into prostitution, it’s the traffickers
who are the criminals.
“I believe it is vital to protect our children who have been
drawn into human trafficking and abuse,” said Denney, R-Cushing.
“We need to protect them from prosecution and focus instead
on restoring their mental and physical wholeness.”
Both measures now go to Gov. Mary Fallin for her approval.
For more information contact:
Sen. Dahm: (405) 521-5551
Sen. Griffin: (405) 521-5628