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Oregon And Washington Lawmakers Tackle Human Trafficking


It's been a year since raids around the country cracked down on human trafficking. In the last year, the Oregon legislature has passed a bill to address the problem, and a bill is making its way through the Washington legislature.

Law enforcement officials say because Portland and Seattle have ports, and lie along I-5, the two cities have become hubs for the criminal groups that traffic in people.

Multnomah Country Sheriff's Deputy Steven Bickford heads the Oregon Human Trafficking Task Force. He says the public is more aware of the crime, and that helps law enforcement.

Bickford: "I've had several people come in with tips that have led to different police agencies going out and at least recovering victims. Maybe not getting the bad guys yet, but at least we've found some victims."

Oregon's legislature recently passed a bill designed to raise public awareness of the problem. If signed by the governor, it would provide information on how to spot victims, and help them.

A bill pending in Washington's legislature would dramatically increase fines and jail time for those found guilty of human trafficking.