Lawmakers tout bills to curb human trafficking

LITTLE ROCK (Arkansas News Bureau) A bipartisan group of lawmakers announced plans Friday to file legislation this year to strengthen the state's human trafficking laws.

"This is a very important issue for the nation, a very important issue for the world and for the state of Arkansas," Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway, said during a news conference at the state Capitol.

Worldwide, human trafficking generates about $9 billion annually and victimizes about 27 million people, including about 13,000 children, according to the Polaris Project, a Washington, D.C.-based group working to curb human trafficking in the United States. Rapert said Arkansas is one of four states, with Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming, that have not enacted a basic legal framework to combat human trafficking.

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UPDATE: Gov. Beebe signed this bill into law on Feb. 19