Prop. 35 intensifies penalties for sex traffickers

In News, State News

Voters in November will vote on Proposition 35, or the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation (CASE) Act, a bipartisan law that proponents say would fight human trafficking through prevention, protection, prosecution and by increasing victims’ access to rehabilitation programs.

The proposition was drafted in response to the outcry of supporters who claim that the penalties are not sufficient to combat the crime.

Critics of the law say it could lead to abusive power in asset seizure and lengthening sentences for pimps involved in prostitution rackets. Supporters say this is precisely what the state needs, considering several large cities in California rank among the worst for child prostitution in the country.

Human trafficking is the second largest, fastest growing criminal industry in the world, with 27 million victims worldwide and an annual profit of $32 billion, according to the 2012 U.S. State Department Trafficking In Persons Report.

In the prevention stage, Proposition 35 would mandate human trafficking training for law enforcement so officials can more easily identify sex trafficking victims and recognize them as victims and not criminals.

Also adhering to combating human trafficking in this stage and the protection stage, Proposition 35 would require that all sex traffickers register as sex offenders and disclose their Internet accounts.

“Since Prop. 35 would require sex traffickers to disclose their online accounts, we can better monitor what’s going on online, which puts out a ‘We are watching you’ feel,” said Daphne Phung, leading CASE Act lobbyist and executive director of California Against Slavery. “This would certainly control and prevent sex traffickers from ever starting to prey on their victims, many of whom are children. Prop. 35 stops sex traffickers’ careers from even starting.”

The measure would also increase prison terms and fines—up to $1.5 million—for human traffickers. Fines would help fund victim services, which would widely increase access to such services, as President Obama outlined in his anti-human trafficking agenda.

Opponents of the legislation argue that police training and increased incarceration for sex traffickers under the CASE Act will cost the state too much money.

However, language of the bill states that the training is a one-time fee and advocates of Proposition 35, like Phung, say that although there would be an increase in sex traffickers behind bars, the overall number of imprisoned criminals would actually decrease.

“Many victims of sex trafficking use drugs and are even paid by their pimps with drugs, so we citizens are already paying for their healthcare,” Phung said. “We would be alleviated of this cost if we help take these girls off the street through the preventative measures supported by Prop. 35. Most pimps control a number of victims, so for each pimp in jail, we might be saving health care costs of a multitude of victims.”

While some argue that the CASE Act is too vague, human trafficking experts say the proposition would be extremely effective due to its understanding of the scope of the intricacies of human trafficking and how to fight it, beginning at its roots.

“Any effort to fight human trafficking must have a strong collaborative nature,” said Sherri Harris, project director for the Network of Emergency Trafficking Services, Salvation Army. “Without collaboration, victims cannot be properly cared for.”

The components of Proposition 35, like the requirement of sex offenders to disclose their online accounts, will make predators visible to the public and to law enforcement, which could help in identifying sex traffickers quickly. Mark Latonero, director of research and instruction at USC Annenberg Center on Leadership and Policy, said this newly established visibility factor is crucial in the fight against human trafficking.

“For the first time, something that was once invisible is now visible,” said Latonero, who is heading a research team that is developing anti-human trafficking technologies. “This visibility is directly placed into the hands of experts and professionals who are able to help human trafficking victims.”

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5 commentsOn Prop. 35 intensifies penalties for sex traffickers

  • Where is the documentation? Is there any documentation for any of the statements likes; “This visibility is directly placed into the hands of experts and professionals who are able to help human trafficking victims.” and ‘Human trafficking is the second largest, fastest growing criminal industry in the world, with 27 million victims worldwide and an annual profit of $32 billion, according to the 2012 U.S. State Department Trafficking In Persons Report.’ And then too, where is the documentation for these statements; Many victims of sex trafficking use drugs and are even paid by their pimps with drugs, so we citizens are already paying for their healthcare,” Phung said. “We would be alleviated of this cost if we help take these girls off the street through the preventative measures supported by Prop. 35. Most pimps control a number of victims, so for each pimp in jail, we might be saving health care costs of a multitude of victims.”

  • By taking a stand with a Yes vote for Prop 35 we are sending a clear message that we will not tolerate the sexual exploitation of our children by human traffickers. We must vote Yes on Prop 35 to strengthen California’s laws to effectively combat human trafficking. Read more about Prop 35: http://sanleandro.patch.com/blog_posts/vote-yes-on-prop-35-to-stop-human-trafficking-in-california-wwwvoteyeson35com

  • It is awful that in California, traffickers can only serve a maximum of 8 years, which does not allow victims to recover from being ENSLAVED.

    Prop 35 doesn’t have vague language. In fact, Prop 35 contains almost identical language to the federal human trafficking law which has been successfully used to try human traffickers without infringing on the rights of others. Community leaders, non profits, and police associations have all endorsed Proposition 35. Vote to fight human trafficking in California. Vote Yes on 35!

  • Thank you for this article and pointing out clearly that Prop 35 will prevent and combat human trafficking here in California. I am voting yes to support these efforts to increase penalties to criminals, require law enforcement training, and require sex traffickers/offenders to disclose the internet accounts. Yes on Prop 35!

  • Following the $$$

    How will law enforcement agencies obtain the additional training necessitated by Prop 35 (CASE Act)? In the proposal, it states “…cost of $1M, or so.”
    However, when it was proposed to CA legislature, it had a price tag of $250K, and it was still voted down 3x. (per Sharmin Bock, Alameda County D.A., 10/15/12 @ SFCAHT Forum.)
    Where do the cost increases come in & what are they intended to cover?

    Additonally, per The California Alliance to Combat Trafficking and Slavery Task Force Final Report – http://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/pdfs/publications/Human_Trafficking_Final_Report.pdf

    “In 2006, POST completed a training DVD, “Response to Human Trafficking,” and “Guidelines on Law Enforcement Response to Human Trafficking.” The POST training focuses on the dynamics and manifestations of human trafficking; identifying, communicating with and protecting victims; preparation of a LEA to meet federal and state requirements; collaboration with federal law enforcement officials; appropriate investigative techniques; civil and immigration remedies for victims; and community resources. One of the recommended best practices is that law enforcement should locate appropriate interpreters rather than use potential traffickers to translate, and work closely with NGOs to ensure that victims receive the services they need.

    POST has distributed the DVD to more than 600 local law enforcement agencies in California. This DVD enables agencies to provide roll call and other training sessions on an ongoing basis. The “Guidelines on Law Enforcement Response to Human Trafficking” will be available for on-line use for all officers in the near future. POST, in conjunction with the San Diego Regional Training Center, has also developed a 40-hour training course on human trafficking. The pilot course was held in San Diego in June 2007.”

    It would seem that the 2-hour required additional training for law enforcement has, in fact, already been mandated & completed.

    Are the additional costs to educate law enforcement, for something that has already been completed? Isn’t that redundant? And if the funds do not end up going towards further law enforcement education, where would that funding go?

    Where, within budget for Prop 35, does it account for the amount of money it will cost to add all of the new individuals to the Sex Offender Registry, and cost to maintain same.

    Are there any, estimates of how many additional people will have to be added & is there a tentative policy & procedure around how that will be handled, as well as a line-item budget proposal for same?

    I’ll keep asking, why did Chris Kelly and the Peace Officers Research Assn of CA decide to pool their combined money, totaling a whopping < $2M for this public campaign, vs. giving the $$ to the NGO’s & law enforcement agencies who handle the MOST cases? To protect 20 kids?

    What about the MILLIONS of kids that are abused, abandoned, raped, molested by LE, foster care, institutions? These are, at least, to a certain extent better known & underlying causes of why children are vulnerable to traffickers.

    Trafficking Statistics in California

    From October 2000 – May 22, 2006 per HHS Fact Sheet (http://www.hhs.gov/news/factsheet/humantrafficking.html) :
    “HHS announced on May 22, 2006, that it had certified its 1,000th victim of human trafficking in the United States since the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) (Pub. L. 106-386) went into effect in October 2000…”

    The report does NOT parse out the types of victims that were certified, adult labor trafficking, child labor trafficking, adult sex trafficking, child sex trafficking.
    However, 1000 certified victims in a little over 5 years = 200 certified victims annually in the United States.

    With how many organizations alleging to “support” victims? And how many untold billions in Federal and state money going towards these 200 victims/yr.?

    California Trafficking statistics

    From The Polaris Project: http://www.cicatelli.org/titlex/downloadable/Human%20Trafficking%20Statistics.pdf (NOTE: Many of the statistics in this report have been debunked by several agencies & academics – http://www.villagevoice.com/2011-03-23/news/women-s-funding-network-sex-trafficking-study-is-junk-science/)

    California:
    ??559 – Potential victims identified between Dec. 1, 2005 and March 12, 2007 by five CA Task Forces.

    Again, these numbers are not broken out by type of trafficking.
    However, using the same statistical numbers from the same report:
    ?
    ??50% – Percent of transnational victims who are children.
    o Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Report to Congress from Attorney General John Ashcroft on U.S. Government Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons in Fiscal Year 2003: 2004.
    ??80% – Percent of transnational victims who are women and girls.
    o Source: U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report: 2007.
    ??70% – Percent of female victims who are trafficked into the commercial sex industry. This means that 30% of female victims are victims of forced labor.
    o Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Assessment of U.S. Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons: 2004.

    We can ascertain that from Dec 1, 2005 – March 12, 2007 = 1.5 yrs.
    559 potential victims/1.5 yrs = 372.66 potential victims per year

    80% are women & girls: 297
    Of the 80% women & girls: 70% are sex trafficking victims: 208
    Of the 80% women & girls: 30% are labor trafficking victims: 89

    50% are children: 372

    *For CA alone

    What is a “potential victim”? What criteria does a person have to meet to be a ‘potential’?
    I, personally, object to this language.

    372 potential victims is a FAR cry from the touted “300,000 at risk” on the Prop 35 website

    Given the same statistics, also per Sharmin Bock, Alameda County D.A. @ the 10/15/12 SFCAHT meeting:

    “Between 1.1.06 and 4.30.12 (the end date was chosen arbitrarily.)
    251 cases of felony human trafficking
    177 convictions for felony human trafficking
    Of which, the Feds took 2 cases”

    Jan. 1, 2006 to April 30, 2012 = 6 years
    251cases of felony human trafficking/6yrs = 41.83 ~ 42 cases per year

    Again, using the Polaris Project’s estimated percentages:

    80% are allegedly women & girls: 33 cases
    Of the 80% women & girls: 70% are allegedly sex trafficking victims: 23 cases
    Of the 80% women & girls: 30% are allegedly labor trafficking victims: 10 cases

    50% are allegedly children: 21 cases

    I say “allegedly” because Ms. Bock makes no mention of how many of the above were/are specifically underage victims of sex trafficking.
    I also say “cases” because Ms. Bock was citing cases, not individuals as well.
    More interested in how many of the above cases were underage victims of sex trafficking, since that is allegedly what this proposition is in regards to.

    Do Increased Penalties Deter Trafficking?

    I have not been able to find any studies that link stricter laws to reduced crime, of any sort or kind.

    Most of the information on the Internet regarding more strict laws, is in regards to more strict gun laws. For which, the public has denounced most attempts to regulate this as it tends to regulate on the law-abiding and criminals, being criminals, don’t care.

    The same can be said for Prop 35. It’s deeply rooted morality basis, has unintended consequences, on people of color and marginalized populations, who, sadly are the very victims this proposition is trying to assist.

Comments are closed.

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