By CATHY BUSSEWITZ
HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii has become the last state in the nation to explicitly ban sex trafficking.
Gov. David Ige signed the bill into law Tuesday. It makes sex trafficking a violent crime and class A felony. It also expands the statewide witness protection program to include sex trafficking and provides victims access to criminal injury compensation.
Advocates say victims of sex trafficking will get help and social services instead of being sent to jail. They say victims who come forward will have more protection and won't be forced to testify, which can be dangerous.
Ige also signed a bill that provides funds for law enforcement agencies to test untested sex assault evidence kits. The Honolulu Police Department had about 1,500 rape kits that had not been tested earlier this year.