Anti-Human Trafficking Legislation Passes House
Beverly Cantrell - March 13, 2022 3:21 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation to create a data repository on human trafficking to be used by law enforcement and victim support groups was approved by the Oklahoma House of Representatives Thursday.
House Bill 4210 establishes the Human Trafficking Response Unit within the Office of the Attorney General. The Unit would create and maintain the database so all law enforcement and victim support groups have a consistent system to share information.
“The creation and empowerment of the Human Trafficking Response Unit is an important step to creating long-lasting change and fighting human trafficking and child exploitation within our state,” Boatman said. “The creation of this database will help our law enforcement find and identify victims of human trafficking and help advocacy groups support survivors.”
The Unit would also be responsible for developing training programs to assist agencies and victims of human trafficking. It would also publish public service announcements on to educate the public about the dangers of human trafficking.
“These horrible situations are often hiding in plain sight within our communities, and I hope that this group will increase awareness of the signs of trafficking and help the vulnerable people who are being exploited,” Boatman said.
Boatman said the bill was the suggestion of the Advisory Task Force on Prevention of Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation, which Boatman authored in 2021. The task force is comprised of 12 members from the Dept. of Human Services, the Oklahoma Health Dept. and the Dept. of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Members examine human trafficking, prostitution and child exploitation in Oklahoma and make recommendations to the Legislature on methods and laws to slow or stop the acts.
HB4210 passed the House 90-1 and now moves to the Senate, where it is authored by Sen. Darrell Weaver, R-Moore.