The threshold age for victims when determining penalties in Louisiana human trafficking cases will soon be 21.

Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office announced this week that the governor has signed a bill to expand the state human trafficking statute by increasing the threshold age of victims by three years — from 18 to 21. It will take effect Aug. 1.

Senate Bill 90 from Sen. Ronnie Johns, a Lake Charles Republican, also requires people convicted of human trafficking offenses under the provision to register as sex offenders.

Anyone convicted of human trafficking crimes under the measure will face prison sentences between 15 and 50 years and could be fined up to $50,000.

Violators of the measure cannot deny knowing victims’ ages as a legal defense.