Human trafficking outlawed

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By Carol A. Clark

To increase penalties for human trafficking, Gov. Bill Richardson signed Senate Bill 71 Friday. The governor called the bill one of the most important pieces of criminal legislation in 2008’s 30-day session.“Human trafficking must be outlawed – human beings should not be treated as property and detained against their will,” Richardson said in a news release.Senate Bill 71 elevates engaging in human trafficking to a felony offense. The bill makes it a third-degree felony to traffic a person 16 or older, a second-degree felony if the victim is 13-15 years old and a first-degree felony if the victim is 12 years old or younger. Along with establishing penalties, a task force will be created to research and combat human trafficking in New Mexico, Richardson said.Los Alamos Police Det. DeWayne Williams, who has been with the department for 13 years, said he is not aware of human trafficking taking place in Los Alamos County. “The smuggling takes place at the border and once illegal aliens get inland a ways, they get into cars and just drive up to Los Alamos,” Williams said.In other parts of the state, Williams said he has no doubt human trafficking goes on. “It’s a very lucrative business,” he said. “I think it’s great Gov.

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