OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation approved unanimously today by the Oklahoma Senate would expand wiretapping statutes to cover crimes of human trafficking for labor, commercial sex and the prostitution of children.
House Bill 1006, by state Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, was approved by a vote of 43-0 and will now proceed to the governor’s desk.
trafficking is a challenge for law enforcement and prosecutors,” said Kern.
“Victims are afraid of their trafficker and fear for their life if they testify against their pimp. Having the ability to wiretap conversations between the victim and his or her trafficker will reveal the true nature of the relationship, the threats the victim is subjected to and who other traffickers are and what they are planning.”
Rep. Kern said that there are plenty of safeguards in place to protect privacy rights.
“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.”
She noted wiretapping is used for drug investigations.
“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,” Kern said.