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A bill that aims to crack down on human trafficking, which have been referred to as modern-day slavery, was passed unanimously by the Ohio Senate. Sen. Teresa Fedor, a Democrat from Toledo, told her colleagues, “It is here . . . Thank you for putting on your glasses.”
Human trafficking is defined by the bill as the act or attempt to “recruit, lure, entice, isolate, harbor, transport, provide, obtain, or maintain” another person, knowing that the victim will be compelled into forced labor, prostitution, or pornography.
It rates as a second-degree felony with a penalty of up to eight years in prison.
The bill also updates state laws to include the act of trafficking into crimes like kidnapping and abduction.
In compelling prostitution, normally a third-degree felony carrying a sentence of up to five years in prison, it will be elevated to a first-degree felony with a penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment if the victim is below 16 years old.
If the victim is older than 16 but below 18 years old, it will be treated as a second-degree felony.
The bill makes it also a crime to destroy or confiscate government identification documents with the purpose of coercing a trafficking victim to cooperate.
As the bill’s sponsor, State Sen. Teresa Fedor, puts it, “In passing this bill, we will be one step closer to eradicating this atrocity.”