A proposal to strengthen state human trafficking laws has passed its first hurdle.
House members passed Friday a bill aimed at increasing the penalty for human trafficking. The House version sponsored by Rep. Tim Lewis of Rio Rancho makes the crime a first degree felon if the victim is under the age of 16.
The bill now goes to the New Mexico Senate.
Lewis, a Republican, says he hoped that senators would move quickly on the proposal.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.