New Law Aids In The Fight Against Human Trafficking In Oklahoma
OKLAHOMA CITY - A new law took effect Friday that arms Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics investigators with another tool in the fight against human trafficking.
The agency can now cut out the step of going to a judge to subpoena evidence in a sex slavery or labor trafficking case.
"As we know with human trafficking, every second literally counts," said OBN spokesperson Mark Woodward.
Last year, state lawmakers added a human trafficking unit for the OBN. The new bill that took effect Nov. 1, 2013, allows OBN attorneys to write up a subpoena and have the OBN director sign it.
OBN investigators can then immediately start tracking down information like the victim's last known location using cell phone GPS, hotel records and witness testimony.
"It will allow us to save a lot of time because in some cases, we might have to go track down a judge and sometimes that can take hours," Woodward said.
Woodward said the new law will speed up the rescue process in a criminal industry where traffickers are constantly moving their victims around.
"They will move them around a lot and within a few minutes to a few hours, they can literally be out of Oklahoma and it can be very difficult to track where these victims are headed," Woodward explained.
News 9 wanted to include in this report the statistics for human trafficking in Oklahoma, but no agency has solid numbers. Woodward said it is such a low-key, underreported crime that no data exists for this growing problem.