For The Norman Transcript
OKLAHOMA CITY —
A measure that would toughen the penalties for human trafficking passed unanimously out of the House of Representatives today.
House Bill 2353, by state Rep. Sally Kern, would add human trafficking to the list of crimes requiring those convicted to serve 85 percent of their time before becoming eligible for parole.
The measure also increases the potential penalty for human trafficking convictions to life imprisonment, a fine of not more than $100,000 or both, if the victim is over 18 years of age. Currently, the penalty for a conviction of human trafficking is a minimum sentence of five years if the victim is over 18 years of age and a minimum sentence of 10 years if the victim is under 18 years of age. The bill also increases the minimum sentence for a conviction if the victim was less than 18 years of age to 15 years, a fine of not more than $250,000 or both.
“Regrettably, Oklahoma City is known as the ‘crossroads of human trafficking’ because of the intersecting of major highways in our city,” said Kern, R-Oklahoma City. “Our state must aggressively deal with this horrendous crime in order to protect our citizens, especially children who most often are the victims of this abhorrent act.”
House Bill 2353 passed out of the House by a vote of 85-0 and now moves to the Senate for consideration.