Policymakers Study Human Trafficking, Education

By State Rep. Mike Sanders

Recently, the House Public Safety Committee in which I serve heard from law enforcement officials and a victim on the topic of human trafficking. The data we received will aid us in considering public safety policy during the 2013 legislative session.

As many as 300,000 children each year in the United States are at risk of being exploited by the commercial sex trade. Sex trafficking cases are widespread and can take many forms in Oklahoma, from a single pimp and one sex slave to large-scale, multi-million dollar operations. In many cases, victims are subjected to as many as 20 sexual contacts each day and have limited or no ability to contact friends or family.

These statistics should give us all great pause and I would like to hear your thoughts and concerns regarding this important public safety issue. I will be following up with law enforcement officials to see if there is legislation that would help them to combat human trafficking in our state.

A number of education studies were also held in September. I was happy to hear of at least one study that was especially supportive of rural school districts in Oklahoma. The data presented to the House Education Committee showed that small, rural districts are some of the highest performing districts in the state and should not be the target of consolidation. Did you know that Oklahoma could save more money by restructuring the small group of largest school district administrations in the state than by restructuring the 297 smallest school districts? The discussion seems to indicate that we are moving away from any talk of eliminating or consolidating rural school districts and will instead be focusing on large school districts. I look forward to giving you further information as developments occur.

As always, I would love to hear from you. During the interim I will be traveling the district, but will regularly check the calls I receive at the Capitol office at (405) 557-7407.

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