OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma lawmaker says his bill will crack down on human trafficking in the Sooner State.

House Bill 2054 would increase the penalty for people who are paying for sex from a misdemeanor to a felony.

“The goal of the bill is to curb the demand driving sex trafficking by increasing the penalty for Johns from a misdemeanor to a felony,” Rep. Eric Roberts, (R- Oklahoma City), said. “Many of those engaging in prostitution are victims of human trafficking. They made this change in Texas and it was very successful.”

Sen. Darrell Weaver, (R-Moore), is the Senate principal author of the bill and says it was requested by the Oklahoma City Police Department’s Vice Unit.

“Prostitution is far from a victimless crime – many commercial sex workers are actually human trafficking victims,” Weaver said. “A stronger penalty for customers will be a greater deterrent, giving us another tool to reduce human trafficking in our state.”

The measure passed the full Senate.

Now, HB 2054 returns to the House for final approval.