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Portman says laws need more work to fight human trafficking and fentanyl

Portman says synthetically-made fentanyl has now passed heroin as the leading cause of death in Ohio

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKBN) - Even with President Donald Trump signing a bill this week providing additional funding to catch people trying to import fentanyl into the United States, Ohio Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said the job of lawmakers isn't finished yet.

While the measure signed Wednesday provides additional funding so agencies like Immigration and Customs and Enforcement can detect fentanyl shipments, Portman claims additional regulations are needed to force the United States Postal Service to require those shipments to contain information making them easier to spot. It's something the commercial delivery firms already do.

"This is where we've had pushback from the Post Office. Postal Service is not interested in having this legislation pass because they say it will cost too much. We are saying we are happy to provide the funding. This is about life and death for the people we represent," Portman said.

Portman says the synthetically-made fentanyl has now passed heroin as the leading cause of death in Ohio and much of it is imported from China.

Portman also is taking a hard stance on human trafficking. He said changes need to be made to existing federal law to clamp down on companies making money off of it.

In observance of Human Trafficking Awareness Month, rally was staged in Washington Thursday.

Portman said a law that's been on the books for the past 21 years that reduces restrictions on the internet provides immunity to companies that permit advertising of human trafficking victims.

"You have companies that are online companies, backpage.com being one of them, which has most of this traffic and are actually selling people online and particularly young girls. They know it, and they are getting away with it," Portman said.

Portman said he and other senators are currently working on new legislation to close the loophole and hopes to have it approved this month.

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