NORMAN — The gruesome death of an Oklahoma City woman had brought home the problem of human trafficking. Authorities believe the woman was caught up in a prostitution ring and her torture and death was sent as a sign to others not to try and escape.
Just this week, officials in Weatherford have expressed fear that a missing teenager may be the victim of human trafficking.
House Bill 2518 gives state officials more authority to investigate and prosecute individuals suspected of being involved in such kidnappings. It expands the definition of human trafficking to include recruiting, harboring and transporting a minor for the purpose of prostitution.
Perpetrators can’t claim consent of the minor as their defense. The director of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs has said the new law will greatly help his agents. When agents investigate drug rings, there’s a good chance human trafficking and prostitution also are present.