OKLAHOMA CITY - A new law taking effect on Friday gives the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN) a critical tool for expediting information related to human trafficking investigations.

OBN Spokesman Mark Woodward says House Bill 1508 gives the agency subpoena power for cases involving human trafficking.

"Time is absolutely critical in human trafficking cases," said Mark Woodward, OBN Spokesman. "Literally, every second counts. Having subpoena power will allow our Human Trafficking Unit to quickly obtain information such as cell phone location data, hotel records, and witness testimony that could help speed up the process of locating and rescuing victims."

OBN Director Darrell Weaver says he is grateful the legislature and Governor have provided the agency with this vital mechanism for addressing this troubling issue.

"We have had the benefit of subpoena power since 1988 for drug crimes and now we will have the same ability in the investigation of sex and labor trafficking," said Weaver. "The agency's goal is to dismantle these criminal groups and you need aggressive tools to be able to do it successfully. These crimes shock the conscious, so I am excited about this opportunity to make a positive difference in our state."

House Bill 1508 was authored by State Representative Pam Peterson and State Senator Kim David.

Woodward says these two state lawmakers have been strong supporters of Oklahoma efforts to combat the growing global epidemic of Human Trafficking.