Human Trafficking Bill Passes 85-0 in House
A bill aimed at preventing human trafficking passed unanimously off the House floor Tuesday.
House Bill 2651 authored by Rep. Steve Vaughan, House Transportation Committee Chairman, permits the Commissioner of Public Safety to choose training material from Truckers Against Human Trafficking for education purposes for drivers applying for Class A, B or C commercial licenses. This will include training on recognizing, preventing and reporting human trafficking. The Commissioner of Public Safety is to regularly review and update the training to take into account changes and trends in human trafficking.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline received 39 human trafficking case reports in the first six months of 2017. The organization also received 114 calls during the same time period.
“Reliable human trafficking statistics are hard to come by because of underreporting, but we know this is a problem in Oklahoma and surrounding states,” said Vaughan, R-Ponca City. “Our state’s position as a crossroads of the country leads to a bigger risk of trafficking. If commercial drivers can be more informed about signs of trafficking and how to report, then our communities will be safer, and we’ll be able to help people who might otherwise go unnoticed.”
The bill now proceeds to the Senate, where Sen. Frank Simpson, R-Springer, is that chamber’s author.