CapitolBeatOK Staff Report
OKLAHOMA CITY– Legislation signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin will expand wiretapping statutes to cover crimes of human trafficking for labor, commercial sex and the prostitution of children.
The wiretapping authority given to law enforcement by House Bill 1006 will help those officers and law enforcement catch traffickers without relying on the testimony of victims, said bill author Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City.
“If we really want to fight the crime of human trafficking, we need to give law enforcement the tools they need to arrest those who are profiting from the selling of human beings,” said Kern, R-Oklahoma City. “Victims are afraid of their trafficker and fear for their life if they testify against their pimp. If law enforcement officers have the ability to wiretap conversations between a victim and his or her trafficker, testimony may not be necessary.”
The practice of wiretapping includes many safeguards to protect law-abiding citizens, Kern said.
“The ability to get the approval for wiretapping is a very hard process and involves multiple steps that investigators must go through in their application for a wiretap,” Kern said. “These steps involve the attorney general’s office and a state supreme court justice’s approval and will only be applied for after many months of an investigative process by law enforcement.”
The measure was approved by a vote of 91-0 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and by a vote of 43-0 in the Oklahoma Senate.
The measure will take effect on Nov. 1.