The Senate preliminarily approved a bill today by state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, that would add new definitions and harsher penalties to human trafficking laws.

The bill creates separate crimes for sex trafficking and for forced labor trafficking. It increases the penalty for compelling prostitution of a child to a first-degree felony and adds human trafficking to the list of crimes eligible for an automatic life sentence for multiple convictions.

Van de Putte said the bill included the recommendations of the statewide Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force created in the 2009 legislative session.

“The truth is that most human trafficking victims are children,” Van de Putte said.

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