House approves sex trafficking bill

Rhode Island State House

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The state House of Representatives has unanimously approved a bill that would increase jail time and fines for sex trafficking convictions.

Legislators passed the bill Thursday. It now moves to the Senate.

Republican state Rep. Doreen Costa of North Kingstown says she introduced the bill because she thinks current state law is too lenient. The legislation would increase jail time from 40 years to 50 years for those convicted of sex trafficking, while interfering with or obstructing the law would come with a penalty of 35 years in prison instead of 20 years. Fines would increase from $20,000 to $40,000.

Costa says she knows a victim of sex trafficking and has seen how it affects families. She says she plans to introduce more legislation on the topic.

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