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W.Va. updating human trafficking law

May. 06, 2013 @ 06:02 PM

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia is updating its recent law targeting human trafficking.

Legislation passed this session allows for victims to file lawsuits as well as claims with the state's special compensation fund for crime victims.

Victims can also petition to have their records cleared of prostitution convictions through the measure. The legislation clarifies language addressing forced prostitution as well.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin approved the bill last week. He held a ceremonial signing Monday at the state Capitol. The governor was joined by legislators, victims' advocates and law enforcement.

West Virginia was one of two states that did not criminalize human trafficking before it enacted its law last year. Experts say most human trafficking victims are women or children and are both U.S. citizens and immigrants.