Human Trafficking Legislation

California Legislation

A wide array of legislation has been introduced to take steps to fight the crime of human trafficking in California. This legislation has focused on criminalizing sex and labor trafficking, encouraging training for peace officers on human trafficking, providing financial assistance to victims, strengthening asset forfeiture statutes, requiring companies to disclose their efforts to eradicate trafficking in their supply chains, and provide victims with better access to education.

Recent legislative actions fall into four categories (1) penalty provisions; (2) asset forfeiture; (3) civil nuisance; and, (4) victim resources.

Penalty Provisions

Laws have been enacted to increase fines for trafficking and direct those fines to victim service providers.

Abolition of Child Commerce, Exploitation and Sexual Slavery Act of 2011 (AB 12, Swanson) – Enacted July 11, 2011

This act requires individuals convicted of procuring sexual services from a minor prostitute to pay an additional fine (up to $25,000) to fund programs for sexually exploited children.

Assembly Bill 17 (Swanson, 2009) Amendments to the California Control of Profits of Organized Crime Act – Enacted October 11, 2009

Increases the maximum amount of additional authorized fines to $20,000 for any person convicted of procuring a child under 16 years of age.

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Asset Forfeiture

The legislature has found asset forfeiture to be an effective way to punish and deter criminal activities and organized crime. To this end, the legislature has fought human trafficking by using the same tool. In its most basic form, criminal forfeiture allows prosecutors to ask the court to freeze all proceeds from the crime and, if the person is convicted, to have those proceeds forfeited.

Senate Bill 1133 (Leno, 2012) – Enacted September 24, 2012

Expands the scope of property subject to forfeiture in human trafficking cases and provides a formula to redirect those resources to community groups that aid victims of human trafficking.

Assembly Bill 90 (Swanson, 2011) – Enacted October 4, 2011

Expands the definition of criminal profiteering to include abduction or procurement by fraudulent inducement for prostitution.

Assembly Bill 17 (Swanson, 2009) – Enacted October 11, 2009

Expands the definition of criminal profiteering to include abduction or procurement by fraudulent inducement for prostitution.

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Civil Nuisance Abatement

City Attorneys have found nuisance abatement to be an effective tool to hold property owners accountable for crimes committed on their property. As a result, the Legislature has strengthened nuisance abatement statutes.

Assembly Bill 2212 (Block, 2012) – Enacted September 7, 2012

Expands red light abatement law to include instances of human trafficking.

Senate Bill 677 (Yee, 2010) – Enacted September 30, 2010

Authorizes real property used to facilitate acts of human trafficking to be declared and treated as a nuisance, allowing the property to be seized.

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Victim Resources

A recurrent concern expressed by anti-human trafficking advocates is the lack of resources available to victims. The absence of adequate funding for victim outreach, protection, and rehabilitation inhibits the prosecution of human trafficking because victims are unable or unwilling to come forward. The Legislature has taken a multi-faceted approach to providing victims with much needed support and resources.

Assembly Bill 1956 (Portantino, 2012) – Enacted September 29, 2012

Expands the California Voluntary Tattoo Removal Program to serve individuals, between 14 and 24, who were tattooed for identification in human trafficking or prostitution.

Assembly Bill 2466 (Blumenfield, 2012) – Enacted September 24, 2012

Allows a court to order the preservation of the assets and property of criminal defendants charged with human trafficking.

Senate Bill 1193 (Steinberg, 2012) – Enacted September 24, 2012

Requires businesses, transit hubs, and other locations that are most likely sites of sex and labor trafficking to post notices publicizing human trafficking resources.

Assembly Bill 2040 (Swanson, 2012) – Enacted August 27, 2012

Allows a person, who was adjudicated as ward of the court following a conviction for an act of prostitution, to have his or her record sealed or expunged without having to show rehabilitation or the absence of a subsequent conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude.

Assembly Bill 764 (Swanson, 2011) – Enacted October 4, 2011

Allows an individual taxpayer to contribute a portion of their tax return to the Child Victims of Human Trafficking Fund.

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Other Selected California Human Trafficking Legislation

Assembly Bill 1899 (Mitchell, of 2012)

Gives students, who are noncitizen victims of traf¬ficking, the same exemption from nonresident tuition and eligibility to apply for and partici¬pate in state and institutional financial aid programs at the California State University (CSU) and the California Community Colleges (CCC) as that extended to students granted refugee status, and requests the University of California (UC) to adopt similar policies.

Senate Bill 1091 (Pavley, of 2012)

Adds human trafficking to the list of crimes for which a prosecuting witness may have up to two support persons while testifying.

Assembly Concurrent Resolution 6 (Donnelly, of 2011)

Recognizes the month of January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and also recognizes February 1, 2011, as California’s Free From Slavery Day.

Senate Bill 557 (Kehoe, of 2011)

Authorizes the cities of San Diego and Anaheim, and the counties of Alameda and Sonoma, until January 1, 2014, to establish family justice centers (FJCs) to assist victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, human trafficking, and other victims of abuse and crime.

Senate Bill 861 (Corbett, of 2011)

Prohibits a scrutinized company from entering into a contract with a state agency for goods or service.

California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 (SB 657, Steinberg) – Enacted September 30, 2010

Senate Bill 657 (Steinberg, 2010) established the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 to encourage corporate disclosure of efforts to eliminate human trafficking from supply chains. This law requires large businesses in California to disclose the policies, if any, they have put in place to address human trafficking in their supply chains. While the legislation gave the California Department of Justice enforcement authority over this requirement, no funding accompanied this authority.

Assembly Bill 1844 (Fletcher, of 2010)

Provides that any person who commits human trafficking involving a commercial sex act where the victim of human trafficking was under 18 years of age shall be punished by a fine of not more than $100,000 to be deposited in the Victim-Witness Assistance Fund to be available for appropriation to fund services for victims of human trafficking.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 76 (Corbett, of 2010)

Encourages the Legislature, busi¬nesses and organizations to bring visibility and support to efforts to recognize and combat human trafficking and slavery.

Assembly Bill 499 (Swanson, of 2008)

Authorizes the Alameda County District Attorney to create a pilot project to develop a model addressing the needs and effective treatment of commercially sexually exploited minors who have been arrested or detained by local law enforcement. (Pilot was extended by Assembly Bill 799 (Swanson, of 2011).)

Assembly Bill 1278 (Lieber, of 2008)

Prohibits any provision of a contract that siphon future wages in exchange for the costs of transporting an individual to the U.S.

Assembly Bill 2810 (Brownley, of 2008)

Requires law enforcement agencies to use due diligence to identify victims of human trafficking and allows any person who claims to have been forced to commit prostitution because they are a victim of human trafficking to have their name and address kept confidential.

Assembly Concurrent Resolution 28 (Ma, of 2007)

Creates a National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness on January 11th of each year.

The Access to Benefits for Human Trafficking and Other Serious Crime Victims Act (SB 1569, 2006) – Enacted September 29, 2006

This act allows non-citizen human trafficking victims to access state-funded social services such as cash assistance, employment assistance, and other social services for up to one year. After one year, the bill allows these services to continue if the victim attempts to remain in the US legally.

The Human Trafficking Collaboration and Training Act (SB 180, 2005, Kuehl) – Enacted January 1, 2006

This act required the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) to establish a training course and guidelines for law enforcement in responding to human trafficking. POST produced a 2-hour training DVD and curriculum and recently updated it for distribution to all California law enforcement agencies.

The California Trafficking Victims Protection Act (AB 22, 2005, Lieber) – Enacted January 1, 2006

This Act established human trafficking as a felony under Penal Code section 236.1; provides for mandatory restitution to the victim; directed the Attorney General to give human trafficking high priority along with other crimes; allows a trafficking victim to bring a civil action against his/her trafficker; provides for human trafficking victim-caseworker privilege; and established a statewide task force, the California Alliance to Combat Trafficking and Slavery (CA ACTS) to analyze California’s response to human trafficking and produce a final report.

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Federal Legislation

The number of federal prosecutions against traffickers has increased significantly since the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 – allowing the federal government to better prosecute traffickers and protect victims.

William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 – Enacted on December 23, 2008

This act added additional measures to prevent and deter human trafficking including assistance to foreign governments to increase their capacity to combat human trafficking.

Trafficking Victims Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2005 - Enacted January 10th, 2006

This act reissued the Trafficking Victims Prevention Act of 2000 and also required that international government contracts be immediately terminated if the contractor engages in human trafficking.

Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003 – Enacted December 19th, 2003

This act reissued the U.S. government’s commitment to identify and assist victims outlined in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. This act also encouraged state and local law enforcement to participate in the detection and investigation of human trafficking.

Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 - Enacted October 28th, 2000

This act made human trafficking a crime and strengthened prison sentences against convicted human traffickers and allocated federal and state aid to victims, including access to T-visas for victims which grant temporary U.S. resident status.

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