Human trafficking legislation passes Missouri House

Friday, March 4, 2011 | 7:15 a.m. CST; updated 9:37 a.m. CST, Friday, March 4, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri lawmakers are trying to enhance the penalties for human trafficking and bolster the number of authorities investigating the crime.

The House of Representatives voted 155-0 Thursday for a bill that would lengthen possible prison sentences and increase fines. The measure also requires that those convicted of trafficking pay restitution to compensate victims for their labor and to cover the cost of mental and physical rehabilitation.

The enhanced state penalties are designed to more closely match those set in federal law. Proponents say they hope that will lead to more prosecutions in sexual trafficking and forced labor trafficking cases.

The legislation now goes to the state Senate.

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