Ohio governor signs stricter human trafficking law

TOLEDO, Ohio - Ohio Gov. John Kasich has signed a bill that increases penalties for human trafficking and creates a fund to help victims.

Kasich signed the measure Wednesday in Toledo. The law takes effect immediately. It makes human trafficking a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. That's tougher than the second-degree felony that the state Legislature established in late 2010 to tackle what's described as modern-day slavery.

Victims of human trafficking are often forced into the sex trade or pushed to work against their will in sweatshop-type jobs.

The law also creates a path for victims to have their records expunged if they have prostitution or solicitation charges as a result of being forced into the sex trade.

The General Assembly passed the measure with unanimous votes.

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