California and Prop 35
This proposition in California has the power to change things forever in the long march toward ending human trafficking and is long overdue. Slated for the November 2012 ballot, Proposition 35 is an initiative that will fight back against human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of women and children. The facts are as follows: Human trafficking is a brutal human rights abuse. It is the fastest growing and second largest criminal industries in the world, second only to drug trafficking. It’s happening in our country, too. California harbors three of FBI’s 13 highest child sex trafficking areas in the nation: Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. The prevalence and anonymity of the internet has fueled the rapid growth of sex trafficking, making the trade of women and children easier than ever before. For more on the facts of exactly what human trafficking is visit the Vote Yes On 35 website.
“California law provides very limited options for prosecuting demand and victims of child sex trafficking or commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) offenses are provided with little protection under the law as victims.” – California Report Card, Protected Innocence Initiative, Shared Hope International and American Center for Law and Justice, December 2011.
The U.S. Congress passed the “Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000″ (TVPA) which is updated and reauthorized every two years. Since TVPA applies only to federal cases tried in federal courts, each state is responsible to enact its own legislation to handle cases within the state. In 2005, California enacted the AB 22 California Trafficking Victims Protection Act (CTVPA), which established human trafficking for forced labor or services as a felony crime punishable by a sentence of 3, 4 or 5 years in state prison and a sentence of 4, 6 or 8 years for trafficking of a minor. Incredibly, there is no stated penalty for sex trafficking of a minor without force.
Human trafficking flourishes where the law is weak
California received an F on protecting victims of child sex trafficking in the recent state Protected Innocence Initiative report card, December 2011. This comprehensive analysis, evaluating each state’s existing laws, is conducted by Shared Hope International and the American Center for Law & Justice. This is why your involvement in voting yes on Proposition 35 is so very important. We need to look at the problem personally as though it were our child, sister or brother who were involuntarily involved. Imagine that someone had the power to change that situation and rescue them. It would mean everything to you and that’s how Californians must vote. As if it were that personal. While it doesn’t end the problem it is a step in the right direction.
When passed, we believe such an initiative will greatly deter the expansion of this crime by increasing the penalty and fines for perpetrators, implement more effective tools for law enforcement officers and, most importantly, bring a higher level of awareness to the citizens of California. – Brent J. Meyer, President of Sacramento Police Officers Association.
Vote yes on Prop 35 in November and visit the website for much more information and to donate to the cause.