West Virginia lawmakers vote to punish human trafficking

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – West Virginia lawmakers have approved legislation to impose prison sentences and fines for human trafficking, including forced labor, debt bondage and prostitution.

Under bills approved by House and Senate, every victim constitutes a separate offense. The measure calls for disgorging profits, restitution and immunity from prosecution for minors who are trafficking victims.

It authorizes wiretap investigations and expunging prostitution convictions.

In other voting, West Virginia’s Senate has passed legislation to prohibit an employer from using payroll withholdings to support candidates or for other political activities without a worker’s written annual consent.

The bill, approved 21-12, would prohibit unions from using agency shop fees paid by non-members for political purposes without their annual written consent.

The Senate has also voted to limit damage claims for errors in medical monitoring.