From the office of Sen. J.B. Jennings:
In less than one day following the conclusion of the Maryland General Assembly’s 428th General Session, Governor O’Malley signed into law over one hundred bills that passed this year, including Senate Bill 299, sponsored by Senator J.B. Jennings (R-7th Legislative District).
Senate Bill 299, entitled Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance – Investigation of Human Trafficking adds specified human trafficking offenses to those crimes for which evidence may be gathered, and a judge may grant an order authorizing the interception of oral, wire, and electronic communications.
This bill received overwhelming support from Maryland Attorney General, Maryland State Police, several local police departments, and multiple advocacy groups. It also received bi-partisan support from Legislators and passed unanimously in both the Senate and House Chambers.
“I’m extremely pleased that this legislation has officially become a new law,” Senator Jennings commented on Tuesday morning. “Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world and is considered highly secretive – it is the modern day form of slavery.”
Prior to the enactment of Senate Bill 299, an investigative or law enforcement officer, in a criminal investigation, could lawfully intercept a wire, oral, or electronic communication in order to provide evidence of commission of crimes such as murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and child abuse – Senate Bill 299 expands Maryland Law to include human trafficking to this list of heinous crimes.
Senator Jennings further expressed his support for this bill, by stating, “One of the most important components of investigation and prosecution of these types of crimes is in the act of solicitation or negotiation between the parties. Under the new law, investigative or law enforcement officers can now lawfully intercept these negotiations for the purposes of providing evidence that a crime of human trafficking has occurred for criminal prosecution – it’s a vital tool that will serve both law enforcement and prosecutors in our State. ”