A bill creating a data repository on human trafficking for use by law enforcement and victim support groups has been sent to the Governor after being approved by the Oklahoma House of Representatives Monday.
Rep. Jeff Boatman, R-Tulsa, filed House Bill 4210 after working with the Advisory Task Force on Prevention of Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation. The task force examined human trafficking, prostitution and child exploitation in Oklahoma and made recommendations to the Legislature on methods to slow or stop the acts.
HB4210 establishes the Human Trafficking Response Unit within the Office of the Attorney General. The Unit would create and maintain data related to human trafficking so law enforcement and victim support groups have a consistent way to share information. The Unit would also be responsible for developing training programs to assist agencies and victims of human trafficking, as well as publish public service announcements on the dangers of human trafficking.
“Domination and abuse of another person is one of the most reprehensible things someone can do,” Boatman said. “This bill is a big win in the fight against the vile individuals that prey upon our children and the most defenseless among us. I hope the Governor acts quickly to stamp out this abomination and show that Oklahoma will stand against these predators and the disgusting belittlement of human dignity that they perpetrate.”
Boatman said he’s seen firsthand the lasting trauma trafficking victims endure, as a close family member was trafficked during childhood.
HB4210 was authored in the Senate by Sen. Darrell Weaver, R-Moore, who was previously director of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control.
“Our efforts here in the legislature to target human trafficking are so important for the countless victims who are being horribly exploited right here in Oklahoma,” Weaver said. “It’s something I worked to address during my career in law enforcement and that’s continued here in the Legislature. This measure represents another critical step in addressing this crime and better supporting victims.”
HB4210 is now available to be signed into law and would go into effect immediately upon being signed. House Bill 4472 and House Bill 2958, both of which passed the House Wednesday and now move to the Senate, would designate a total of $5.75 million to the Attorney General’s office to fund the Unit.