Senate OKs wiretap bill to address human trafficking


STATE HOUSE – The Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Cynthia A. Coyne to allow wiretaps for suspected human trafficking investigations.

Chairwoman Coyne’s bill (2022-S 2706) would add felony violations of human trafficking to the offenses for which investigators may apply for a court order for the interception of wire or oral communication.

“Human trafficking is a heinous crime that destroys the victims’ lives, and it remains a very real problem here in Rhode Island and throughout the country. Investigators need every available tool to stop traffickers, and since traffickers often work in networks, intercepting communication is very important in shutting them down and bringing them to justice,” said Chairwoman Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence), who is a retired state trooper. The legislation is backed by Attorney General Peter F. Neronha.

The bill now goes to the House of Representatives, which is expected to vote Thursday on identical legislation (2022-H 7700) sponsored by Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett).