Expansion of human-trafficking law backed in Pa.

    Pennsylvania’s Senate is moving to beef up state laws against human trafficking.

    The Senate’s approval of the legislation is another step toward bringing the commonwealth in line with most other states, said Britanny Vanderhoof with the policy department of the Polaris Project. The organization operates the federal government’s human trafficking hotline and serves victims of human trafficking.

    “Currently, the law does not recognize this whole spectrum of behaviors that is part of human trafficking and, in particular, sex trafficking,” Vanderhoof said. “So that’s why we’re pushing for an amendment to better capture all the types of behavior we’re talking about when we’re talking about human trafficking — so people can be appropriately charged and also victims can be identified.”

    Pennsylvania is among the last states to adopt harsher penalties and clearer definitions of sex trafficking.

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    A measure of similar intent, but with far less detail, passed the House in April.

    Which bill goes to the governor’s desk will be worked out between legislative leaders of the two chambers, said a House GOP spokesman.

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