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The Senate unanimously passed legislation Wednesday that would allow a person charged with prostitution to offer a defense that they committed the act under duress by a human trafficker.

The bill now goes to the House, where a companion measure is being considered by the Judiciary Committee.

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The bill, sponsored by Montgomery County Democratic Sen. Susan Lee, is one of the top priorities of anti-human trafficking activists. The advocates contend that many who commit acts of prostitution should be viewed more as victims than offenders.

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