It’s official: Hawaii has a human trafficking law.

On Monday, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed into law two bills aimed at curtailing the illegal trade of human beings.

House Bill 141 outlaws labor trafficking and House Bill 240 toughens existing prostitution laws by making prostitutes eligible for a state witness protection program — a direct attempt to help law enforcement prosecute pimps, and traffickers.

The two measures passed the Legislature unanimously and enable Hawaii to lose the ignominious distinction of being one of just four states that did not have a human trafficking law.

The measures cap off what has been a banner year for federal authorities in Honolulu who filed the largest human trafficking case in U.S. history last fall. Just last week, a third defendant plead guilty in the case against labor-contracting firm Global Horizons. Meanwhile, on the mainland, both the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are pursuing civil suits against six Hawaii farms and Global Horizons, for unfair employment practices.

The trafficking bills appeared to face significant roadblocks from the get-go. Here’s a recap of our coverage:

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