Sexual Assault

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Legislation To Promote Statewide Tracking of DNA Evidence

February 25, 2016
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced her sponsorship of two bills which will improve statewide tracking of forensic evidence through the adoption of technology.  The legislative package directs law enforcement to take advantage of two secure databases operated by the California Department of Justice: the CODIS Hit Outcome Project (CHOP), which enables agencies to share confidential information about the outcomes of DNA matches; and the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Tracking (SAFE-T) database, which will enable the state to track the collection and processing of sexual assault evidence kits.

“DNA evidence is a tool that provides law enforcement with critical evidence to bring justice to sexual assault victims,” said Attorney General Harris.  “By taking full advantage of the state’s existing forensic tracking technologies, these bills will bolster and modernize law enforcement efforts to solve sexual assault crimes.”

AB 1848 by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) will direct all local law enforcement agencies to use a second tracking system within the California Department of Justice, the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Tracking (SAFE-T) tool.  This database was specifically designed by the Attorney General’s Bureau of Forensic Services to allow local law enforcement agencies to log and track the status of all so-called “rape kits” collected from victims of sexual assault.  The bill will include annual reporting to the state on metrics relating to how many kits were collected and how many kits were indeed analyzed by a DNA lab.  In cases where local agencies decide not to test a kit, they will be required to provide a reason.

“Survivors of sexual assault who are submitting sexual assault evidence kits aren’t getting the answers they need and deserve,” said Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco). “To get at the crux of the backlog problem, we need to know how many kits are collected each year, and if they’re not analyzed, we need to know why.  This data will help shed a light on what areas of law enforcement need to change and whether or not they need more resources to get the job done. I look forward to working with Attorney General Harris on this crucial effort.”

SB 1079 by Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) will achieve universal use the state’s CODIS Hit Outcome Project (CHOP) database.  This advanced technological database helps streamline criminal casework and enables law enforcement agencies to confidentially share information on the outcomes of DNA matches when their own evidence comes back with a positive match to the same known perpetrator.  The database also features a tracking system that assists local agencies in tracking the progress of a DNA hit once crime scene forensic evidence has been matched against a sample in the national database.  Universal adoption of CHOP will ensure that California’s law enforcement agencies are able to fully leverage this technology to promote public safety.

“My bill ensures that local agencies use cold hit information to its full potential for case investigations. Proper use of a statewide system will mean investigations will be more efficient, repeat offenders will be found in the system, and rape kits will be accurately tracked, among other benefits,” said State Senator Glazer (D-Orinda).

Both CHOP and SAFE-T are secure, web-based databases made available to local law enforcement agencies free of charge.  The California Department of Justice, which manages the state’s DNA Data Bank Program, created CHOP in 2009.  SAFE-T was created in 2015 in part as a response to recommendations from a report by the State Auditor.  When evidence taken from a sexual assault kit is analyzed and matched to a sample in CODIS, the SAFE-T profile is automatically linked to a database entry in CHOP. 

In California, law enforcement collects DNA samples from all felony offenders and arrestees, which are submitted into the CODIS database.  When a DNA sample is taken from a crime scene involving an unidentified suspect, the database is checked for possible matches.  In January 2012, Attorney General Harris announced that, for the first time ever, the backlog of untested DNA evidence in state labs had been eliminated. Since that time, the Department’s Bureau of Forensic Services has assisted counties in clearing their own backlogs.

In April 2014, the Attorney General’s innovative RADS program received the United States Department of Justice’s Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Services, and in 2015 the program was awarded a $1.6 million grant to test sexual assault evidence kits at local laboratories.

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, UC President Napolitano Applaud San Francisco Law Enforcement Agencies and Universities for Adopting their Model MOU on Campus Sexual Assault

September 22, 2015
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SAN FRANCISCO - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and University of California President Janet Napolitano today applauded the signing of a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) between multiple universities in San Francisco, the San Francisco Police Department, and the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office to better support and seek justice for survivors of campus sexual assault. Their MOU is based on a Model MOU released by the California Department of Justice in May 2015, which was the product of a collaborative effort between Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, the University of California Office of the President, the Alameda County and San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Offices, and the San Francisco Police Department and Oxnard Police Department.

California is entering a new era of accountability for campus sexual assault. For the first time under California law, campuses across the state are required to immediately alert law enforcement when a sexual assault occurs. As of July 1, 2015, California campuses are required to have policies in place to ensure that reports of violent crime, hate crime, or sexual assault made to campus authorities are immediately disclosed to law enforcement. The Model MOU will help campuses and law enforcement agencies comply with their new obligations, increase reporting, and improve their response to campus sexual assault to seek justice for victims and accountability for perpetrators.

Specifically, the Model MOU lays out key action items that include:

  • Clarifying the duties of campus authorities and law enforcement agencies following an assault, including who will act as first responder, who will collect and preserve evidence, and how to share necessary information while preserving victim privacy
  • Ensuring that campuses, law enforcement, and community-based organizations work together to connect victims to services – including rape kits – as soon as possible
  • Committing to regular training for both the campus and law enforcement communities

By adopting the best practices in this model agreement, school officials and law enforcement agencies can provide clear, accurate, and supportive information to students who have been assaulted, including a clear understanding of how to report an incident to authorities and where and how to seek medical assistance.

"I applaud the San Francisco law enforcement and college partners for adopting our model Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to respond to campus violence and sexual assault,” said Attorney General Harris. “I worked with President Napolitano and CA law enforcement to jointly create this Model MOU because we know that we must work together to ensure that perpetrators of sexual assault are held accountable and victims receive the justice and support they deserve. This effort will break down silos and ensure local coordination in response to sexual violence on campus."

University of California President Janet Napolitano said, “This is the kind of outcome California Attorney General Kamala Harris and I envisioned when we unveiled a toolkit in May to help law enforcement agencies improve collaboration on campus sexual assault prevention and response. We salute District Attorney Gascón for taking action on a memorandum of understanding with the UCSF Police Department, SFPD and the San Francisco Trauma Recovery Center.”

In May 2015, Attorney General Harris released the  Model Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), including both a How-To Guide and Template MOU for law enforcement agencies and institutions of higher learning to utilize in crafting and adopting customized local agreements. At a press conference with University of California President Janet Napolitano, law enforcement leaders, and advocates to announce the Model MOU, Attorney General Harris encouraged campuses to use these resources to improve coordination, collaboration and transparency in addressing campus sexual assault.

To view the Model Memorandum of Understanding, click here: https://oag.ca.gov/campus-sexual-assault. To view the information bulletin released in January, click here: http://bit.ly/1CcwfB1.

California Attorney General’s Office Awarded $1.6 Million Grant to Test Sexual Assault Evidence Kits

September 11, 2015
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

LOS ANGELES- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that the California Attorney General’s office was selected as an awardee of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Initiative to eliminate backlogs of untested rape kits. The California Department of Justice’s Rapid DNA Service Team (RADS) will receive $1.6 million over two years to test sexual assault evidence kits.

The California Attorney General’s office is one of 32 agencies in 20 states to receive a grant.  The funding will support the Attorney General’s continued efforts to test kits submitted by local law enforcement agencies that have a backlog of untested kits.  The California Department of Justice currently assists 46 of the state’s 58 counties in DNA analysis of sexual assault kits.

“DNA testing is a powerful law enforcement resource – a smart on crime tool that we’ve used in cutting edge ways in California,” Attorney General Harris said. “Evidence of sexual assault is too important to sit dormant for months while victims await justice.  This grant will allow us to use our Rapid DNA Service Team’s technology to assist more of our law enforcement partners across California in eliminating their sexual assault kit backlogs.”

In 2011, the RADS team, part of the Attorney General’s Bureau of Forensic Services, introduced new technology that dramatically increased the speed with which sexual assault kits can be tested.  The program uses automation to reduce the processing time to within 20 days, down from six months from the start of analysis. This process includes the uploading of DNA profiles into the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System to search for unknown suspects.  In one year, the program eliminated a long-standing backlog of untested rape kits in state-run labs, which included 1,300 DNA cases.

In January 2012, Attorney General Harris announced that, for the first time ever, the backlog of untested DNA evidence in state labs had been eliminated. Since that time, the Department’s Bureau of Forensic Services has assisted counties in clearing their own backlogs.

In April 2014, the RADS program received the United States Department of Justice’s Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Services.

Lawmakers, Victim Advocates, Law Enforcement Voice Support for Attorney General Kamala D. Harris’s New Model MOU to Address Campus Sexual Assault

May 13, 2015
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

LOS ANGELES – Today, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced steps to address the pervasive issue of sexual assault on California’s college campuses. As part of this effort, Attorney General Harris released a Model Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), comprised of a How-To Guide and Template MOU for law enforcement agencies and institutions of higher learning to improve their coordination, collaboration and transparency in response to cases of campus sexual assault.

Attorney General Harris was joined by University of California President Janet Napolitano, law enforcement leaders, and victim advocates at a press conference in Los Angeles to announce this effort.  Below are additional quotes in support of this critical effort to address campus sexual assault in California.

Speaker Toni G. Atkins (D- San Diego):

“Our college campuses must be safe places.  And if a sexual assault, a hate crime or a violent crime is committed, each campus and community has the duty to ensure it is taken seriously and resolved responsibly.  The model Memorandum of Understanding developed by Attorney General Harris provides an important, uniform tool for making sure students, faculty, staff and visitors at all California’s colleges and universities find themselves in a safe and supportive environment.”

Assemblymember Jose Medina (D-Riverside):

“Given the seriousness of the issue of sexual assault, particularly on college campuses, I am grateful to see the progress of the discussion with this Memorandum of Understanding from the Attorney General and all the continued cooperation between campuses and local law enforcement. As Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, I believe we must protect students and community members and hold perpetrators accountable.”

California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) Executive Director Sandra Henriquez:

“CALCASA applauds the efforts of the California Attorney General’s Office in creating a model Memorandum of Understanding that will assist California campuses and local law enforcement to improve responses to address sexual assault.”   

California College and University Police Chiefs Association President Chief Randy A. Burba:

“The California College and University Police Chiefs Association supports the model Memorandum of Understanding and guidance document released by the Office of the Attorney General.  We thank the Office of the Attorney General for the opportunity to participate during the review process and we trust the final product will be a tremendous advancement to aid municipal law enforcement and university law enforcement in their shared, ultimate goal of assisting survivors and victims of violent crime.  We heartily encourage all of our member agencies of the California College and University Police Chiefs Association to utilize this excellent tool. “

Oxnard Police Department Chief Jeri Williams:

“Law enforcement is committed to a working partnership between campus police and county and local departments to increase the awareness and education of students in the area of sexual assault. This MOU demonstrates our desire to work together and to share resources to best serve our victims of sexual assault.”

University of California Students Association President Jefferson Kuoch-Seng:

“I want to thank Attorney General Harris and the University for their proactive work on the implementation of student- supported legislation. On every campus, sexual violence and response to assault affects everyone and has a huge impact on our campus culture. Student activists have driven a bold agenda on this issue and it is paying off. We have much more work to accomplish: UCSA continues to urge the UC Office of the President to implement mandatory in-person peer consent and bystander intervention training for faculty, staff and students at all UCs.  These model MOUs will ensure communication and cooperation among and on our individual campuses. We are encouraged by this guide, and look forward to meaningful community and survivor-informed discussions to address the issue.”

San Francisco Police Department Chief Greg Suhr:

"Local law enforcement has a shared responsibility with campuses to respond effectively to support victims however we can.  We look forward to working with the colleges and universities within my jurisdiction to implement this Model MOU."

Association of Independent California Colleges & Universities President Kristen Soares:

“AICCU appreciates and supports the work of the California Attorney General in serving as a resource to colleges and universities to ensure compliance with increasingly complex state and and federal campus safety and sexual assault laws.  These tools provide much needed guidance to institutions on best practices in protecting the safety of our students and the entire campus community.”

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, UC President Janet Napolitano Take Steps to Address Campus Sexual Assault

May 13, 2015
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

LOS ANGELES – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced steps to address the pervasive issue of campus sexual assault on California’s college campuses. Joined by University of California President Janet Napolitano, law enforcement leaders and victim advocates, Attorney General Harris released a Model Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), comprised of a How-To Guide and Template MOU for law enforcement agencies and institutions of higher learning to improve their coordination, collaboration and transparency in response to cases of campus sexual assault.

“California has some of the best colleges and universities in the world,” said Attorney General Harris. “But for far too many hard-working students, the dream of an education from a top school is upended by sexual violence. We must acknowledge these students’ value to our future and give them the respect and dignity they deserve as our next leaders. This model agreement will help break down silos between campuses and law enforcement agencies to provide sexual assault victims with the help they need and hold more perpetrators accountable.”

Studies suggest that as many as one in five undergraduate students have been a victim of an attempted or completed sexual assault. In addition, this crime is severely underreported, with 80% of campus sexual assaults going unreported to law enforcement. Lack of reporting also impacts public safety, as studies suggest that repeat perpetrators account for nine out of 10 assaults on campus.

“A primary goal in our efforts at the University of California to prevent and respond to sexual violence and sexual assault has been to make sure law enforcement agencies are more fully engaged with us on this serious issue,” said University of California President Janet Napolitano. “Working closely with Attorney General Kamala Harris and law enforcement agencies will help us build trust and ensure appropriate outcomes for criminal acts of sexual violence and assault.”

California is entering a new era of accountability for campus sexual assault. For the first time under California law, campuses across the state are required to immediately alert law enforcement when a sexual assault occurs. By July 1, 2015, California campuses must have policies in place to ensure that reports of violent crime, hate crime, or sexual assault made to campus authorities are immediately disclosed to law enforcement. The Model MOU will help campuses and law enforcement agencies comply with their new obligations, increase reporting, and improve their response to campus sexual assault to seek justice for victims and accountability for perpetrators.

Specifically, the Model MOU lays out key action items that include:

  • Clarifying the duties of campus authorities and law enforcement agencies following an assault, including who will act as first responder, who will collect and preserve evidence, and how to share necessary information while preserving victim privacy
  • Ensuring that campuses, law enforcement, and community-based organizations work together to connect victims to services – including rape kits – as soon as possible
  • Committing to regular training for both the campus and law enforcement communities

By adopting the best practices in this model agreement, school officials and law enforcement agencies can provide clear, accurate, and supportive information to students who have been assaulted, including a clear understanding of how to report an incident to authorities and where and how to seek medical assistance.  

The Model MOU is the product of a collaborative effort between the office of Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, University of California Office of the President, Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, San Bernardino District Attorney’s Office, San Francisco Police Department and Oxnard Police Department.

“I commend Attorney General Harris for taking a proactive step to make sure that our college campuses are a safe and welcoming community for our students,” said San Bernardino District Attorney Mike Ramos. “Together we share the responsibility of promoting best practices and collaborating with our partners in law enforcement and the UC system.”

“I am very pleased to have a well-thought-out guide suggesting how we can better assist survivors of sexual assaults on our college campuses while also complying with new legal requirements,” said UCLA Police Chief James D. Herren. “This toolkit gives us steps we can take to connect important resources as we pursue justice and work to eliminate this national problem."

“The work we have undertaken will forever impact the way California’s universities and colleges address sexual assaults on campus,” said Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley. “Sexual assault survivors will be assured that their voices are heard, that the crime will be investigated, and that they will receive the medical attention vital to their physical and psychological well-being. Also of great importance, campus personnel and law enforcement will now have clear guidance as to how to proceed when a victim reports a sexual assault.”

Attorney General Harris has a decades-long commitment to reducing sexual violence, holding perpetrators accountable and seeking justice for sexual assault victims. As a line prosecutor in Alameda County and then as the District Attorney of San Francisco, the Attorney General has long focused on violence against women and children. In her first year in office, the Attorney General eliminated a longstanding backlog of untested rape kits in state-run labs – which included 1,300 DNA cases. In April 2014, the California Attorney General’s Rapid DNA Service Team received the United States Department of Justice Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Services.

In January 2015, Attorney General Harris issued an information bulletin to California law enforcement agencies, higher education administrators and campus security personnel, providing enforcement guidance on new and amended sexual assault and campus safety laws. The bulletin summarized SB 967 (Senate pro Tempore Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles) and AB 1433 (Assemblymember Mike Gatto, D-Glendale), gave enforcement guidance in the context of existing state and federal statutes, and encouraged increased collaboration between law enforcement and campus authorities. At the time she released the bulletin, Attorney General Harris promised to release further guidance in the coming months, including this model agreement.

To view the Model Memorandum of Understanding, click here: https://oag.ca.gov/campus-sexual-assault. To view the information bulletin released in January, click here: http://bit.ly/1CcwfB1.

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Issues Bulletin on Campus Sexual Assault and Safety

January 27, 2015
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SAN FRANCISCO – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today issued an information bulletin to California law enforcement agencies, higher education administrators and campus security personnel, providing enforcement guidance on new and amended sexual assault and campus safety laws. The bulletin summarizes SB 967 (Senate pro Tempore Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles) and AB 1433 (Assemblymember Mike Gatto, D-Glendale), gives enforcement guidance in the context of existing state and federal statutes, and encourages increased collaboration between law enforcement and campus authorities.

“The threat of sexual assault is real and pervasive,” said Attorney General Harris. “Last year California adopted some of the most aggressive campus sexual assault laws in the country. Today’s bulletin ensures that education leaders and law enforcement understand their responsibilities under these laws, enforce them consistently, and collaborate to protect victims.” 

The two new laws create reporting requirements and standards for campus disciplinary procedures.

SB 967 requires California postsecondary institutions – in order to receive state funds for financial assistance – to adopt comprehensive, victim-centered policies and disciplinary procedures concerning sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. Under the law, an institution’s policy governing its campus disciplinary process must use an affirmative consent standard – defined as an affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity – to determine whether a sexual assault complainant consented.   

SB 967 requires campuses to use a preponderance of the evidence standard when adjudicating complaints in the campus disciplinary process. This means the evidence must show it is “more likely than not” – i.e., greater than 50 percent likelihood – that the victim did not consent. The law also requires postsecondary institutions to partner with campus and community organizations to refer both victims and perpetrators to health, counseling, advocacy and legal services.

“The laws we pursue in the California legislature set an example for the rest of the country,” Senate pro Tempore de León stated. “With 1 in 5 women on college campuses experiencing sexual assault, it’s our responsibility to secure a safe learning environment for our students.”

AB 1433 specifies that as a condition for participation in the Cal Grant program, campus security authorities are required to immediately – or as soon as practicably possible – disclose to local law enforcement any report of a violent crime, hate crime or sexual assault, whether committed on- or off-campus. Postsecondary governing boards must implement policies and procedures by July 1, 2015, to ensure reports of these crimes are immediately forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement agency.  

“Students at our colleges and universities deserve to learn without living in fear of sexual assault, and they deserve to know that crimes that occur on campus won’t be treated any differently than those that occur elsewhere in our community,” said Assemblymember Mike Gatto.  “I thank Attorney General Harris for her advice and collaboration in these matters.”

AB 1433 builds on existing state and federal requirements for campus and law enforcement collaboration. California law already requires postsecondary institutions to enter into written agreements with local law enforcement agencies. The federal Clery Act also requires campus officials to contact local law enforcement to obtain accurate statistics about crimes reported on or near campus. 

Attorney General Harris has a longstanding commitment to reducing sexual violence and seeking justice for sexual assault victims. In her first year in office, Attorney General Harris eliminated a longstanding backlog of untested rape kits in state-run labs – which included 1,300 DNA cases.  In April 2014, the California Attorney General’s Rapid DNA Service Team received the United States Department of Justice Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Services. Attorney General Harris is currently prosecuting two operators of cyber exploitation websites who, combined, facilitated the posting of over 10,000 sexually explicit photos and extorted victims to remove the illicit content.

 In the coming months, the Attorney General’s Office will release additional guidance suggesting ways in which law enforcement and campus personnel can comply with the new laws and facilitate justice for victims and accountability for perpetrators. 

To view the information bulletin click here: http://bit.ly/1CcwfB1

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Arrest of Two Sisters Running San Francisco Sex Trafficking Ring

June 9, 2014
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SAN FRANCISCO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the arrest of two women accused of operating a sex trafficking ring in San Francisco. The arrests are the result of a five-month joint investigation by the California Attorney General’s Office, the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
 
“The victims in these brothels were treated as commodities in an insidious human marketplace,” Attorney General Harris said. “Human trafficking is a heinous crime that destroys the lives of victims and threatens the safety of our communities. I want to recognize the steadfast commitment of our Task Force agents, law enforcement partners, and community organizations to bring perpetrators to justice and help rebuild these victims’ lives.”
 
“The interruption of this sex trafficking, under the leadership of the Attorney General Harris’s Office, is just another example of San Francisco’s commitment to protecting and preserving the basic rights of all; especially our most vulnerable,” SFPD Chief Greg Suhr said. “Fully understanding the gravity of the human trafficking trade, the San Francisco Police Department developed its own Human Trafficking Unit, partnering with other agencies to conduct proactive victim-centered investigations of sex and labor trafficking crimes.”
 
Defendants Qiao He, a.k.a. “Judy,” 37, and her sister Gaineng He, 36, both of San Francisco, were arrested today and charged with felony pimping and pandering. They are both being held at the San Francisco County Jail on $25,000 bail each and will be prosecuted by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. The Attorney General’s Office is still investigating potential tax fraud and conspiracy violations.
 
In January 2014, the Tax Recovery and Criminal Enforcement (TRaCE) Task Force of the California Attorney General’s Office initiated an investigation of an alleged sex trafficking ring in San Francisco’s Richmond District operated by sisters Qiao He and Gaineng He.
 
Over a period of several months, TRaCE’s investigation revealed that “Johns” allegedly paid as much as $200 for sexual intercourse with their choice of one of several young Asian women in the brothels. During the investigation, the defendants repeatedly told undercover agents that “new girls” were brought in every Sunday.
 
On May 7, agents with the California Department of Justice, HSI and SFPD executed search warrants on four San Francisco locations, including 385 7th Avenue, 4719 Geary Boulevard #601, 2094 24th Avenue, and 1511 24th Avenue.
 
The joint investigation was led by the California Attorney General’s TRaCE Task Force, which includes representatives of the FBI, California Franchise Tax Board, California Board of Equalization, California Employment Development Department and the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.  TRaCE is a statewide task force created in 2014 to combat organized elements of the underground economy engaged in the manufacturing, importation, distribution and sale of pirated intellectual property, and other economic crimes resulting from the evasion of business and income taxes.
 
In March of this year, Attorney General Harris released a report, Gangs Beyond Borders: California and the Fight Against Transnational Organized Crime, which is the first comprehensive report analyzing the current state of transnational criminal organizations in California (http://oag.ca.gov/transnational-organized-crime). In addition, the report made recommendations to address the issue of transnational crime and human trafficking in our state, which included funding the state task forces that investigate and disrupt these organizations.
 
Attorney General Harris has been a strong advocate for increased collaboration between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies during the investigation and prosecution of the crime of human trafficking.
 
In 2012, Attorney General Harris released a report, The State of Human Trafficking in California, which outlined the growing prevalence of the crime of human trafficking in the state (http://www.oag.ca.gov/human-trafficking/2012). The report describes the evolving challenges California faces in addressing this crime, which has become a $32 billion-a-year global industry.
 
Please note that these are only allegations and, as with all defendants, those named here must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

California Attorney General’s Office to Receive National Recognition for Innovation in Rape Kit Testing

April 8, 2014
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that the California Attorney General’s office will receive the United States Department of Justice’s Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Services for its successful efforts to improve the DNA analysis of rape kits by law enforcement agencies.

The California Attorney General’s Rapid DNA Service Team (RADS) will receive the award during the Department of Justice’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Service Awards ceremony on April 9th in Washington, D.C.

“Victims of sexual assault deserve swift justice,” Attorney General Harris said. “The Rapid DNA Service Team’s technology gives law enforcement a critical tool to quickly identify perpetrators and prevent these dangerous individuals from victimizing more people. On behalf of all Californians, I thank our RADS team for their innovation and dedication.”

The RADS Team, part of the Attorney General’s Bureau of Forensic Services, developed a program in 2011 that improves the traditional process by which rape kits are tested and reduces the processing time to within 15 days. This program currently operates in eight counties across the state including Butte, Lake, Marin, Napa, Sonoma, Solano, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara.

The program allows for the processing of evidence from sexual assault cases within 15 days from the start of analysis and uses automation to reduce processing time, allowing for a threefold increase in casework capacity. This process includes the upload of DNA profiles into the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System to search for unknown suspects.

In her first year in office, Attorney General Harris eliminated a long standing backlog of untested rape kits in state-run labs, which included 1,300 DNA cases. Along with committing additional resources to the labs, Attorney General Harris introduced new technology that dramatically increased the speed with which cases are analyzed.

In January 2012, Attorney General Harris announced that, for the first time ever, the backlog of untested DNA evidence in state labs had been eliminated.

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Dismantles Northern California Sex Trafficking Operation

June 14, 2013
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO – Spearheading efforts to dismantle sex trafficking networks in California, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the arrest of four individuals accused of pimping young women in a network of brothels located in Northern California.

The arrests are the culmination of a five-month investigation into an organized prostitution ring that trafficked women from Boston and New York to brothels located in residential areas of Sacramento and San Mateo counties. Once in Northern California, the defendants rotated the women between their brothels on an organized schedule. 

“Sex trafficking rings like the one we dismantled yesterday destroy the lives of young women and degrade the social fabric of our communities,” said Attorney General Harris. “I am committed to using all of the law enforcement tools at my disposal to bring to justice those who profit from the cruel and depraved business of sex trafficking.”

On Thursday night, agents with the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Investigation, with the assistance of the Sacramento Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, served arrest and search warrants at multiple locations in Sacramento and San Mateo counties.

As a result of the sweep, four individuals operating the brothels were charged with pimping and/or pandering:

  • Xiu Juan Bai, 43, Sacramento County
  • Ken Wong, 58, Sacramento County
  • Yoon Chin, 55, Sacramento County
  • Zhi Liu, 49, San Mateo County

The charges in the complaints are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless they are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The operation was part of an ongoing campaign by Attorney General Harris to investigate, prosecute and punish sex traffickers in California. Last year, Attorney General Harris released The State of Human Trafficking in California. The report outlines the growing prevalence of the crime of human trafficking in the state, the increasing involvement of sophisticated transnational gangs in perpetrating the crime and the modern technologies that traffickers use to facilitate it.

The report was released at a Human Trafficking Leadership Symposium, where Attorney General Harris was joined by leaders from law enforcement, victim service groups, non-government organizations, and other groups to share the best strategies and tactics to use in the fight against forced labor and sex trafficking.

Attorney General Harris regularly convenes law enforcement officials in the state to discuss how to recognize, investigate and prosecute human trafficking cases.

Last month, three defendants in a human trafficking ring in which women from Mexico were used as prostitutes in five Northern California cities were sentenced to three years in jail.

For more information on human trafficking, go to: http://www.oag.ca.gov/human-trafficking

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Issues Statement on Julio Morales Ruling

January 4, 2013
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SAN FRANCISCO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris issued the following statement on the decision to overturn the rape conviction of Julio Morales by the 2nd District Court of Appeal:

"The evidence is clear that this case involved a nonconsensual assault that fits within the general understanding of what constitutes rape. This law is arcane and I will work with the Legislature to fix it."