California Proposition #35

October 10, 2012
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I’m reviewing all of the state propositions  that will be on the California Ballot in November. Today’s post goes over Proposition 35: Human Trafficking and Penalties.  Are you ready? Let’s go!

California Proposition #35: Human Trafficking!

TDL Description

Background

Human Trafficking refers to the forced work under extreme conditions and you don’t get fair compensation for your labor. (my definition)

According to the Federal Victims Protection Act, there are two categories of Human Trafficking:

  • Sex Trafficking: persons are recruited, transported, or obtained for a commercial sex act that is induced by force or fraud or in which the victim performing the act is under age 18. ..or child prostitution.
  • Labor Trafficking: persons are recruited, transported or obtained by force of fraud to provide labor or other services.  ..or forcing a foreign national to work for under threat of deportation.

Under state law, human trafficking is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 5 years. If the victim is under 18, the sentence can go up to 8 years. Under existing law, most who have a  human sex trafficking conviction are required to register as a sex offender. Most.

Proposal

Proposotion 35 (Download here: ) makes several changes to the existing state human trafficking law..

  1. Expands the definition of Human Trafficking. It adds more crimes: producing or selling obscene materials depicting minors (even if the perpetrator had no contact with the minor). It also allows that prosecuters would not have to show that force or coercion occured. (I think this means that even if the minor consented..it would be illegal merely because the child was a minor..correct me if this is wrong.)
  2. More severe penalties for human trafficking. Prop 35 increases the prison pentalies and fees for certain offenses. See figure below.  For those that have previous convictions, they would get an additional 5 years for each previous offense. (Back punishment..O_o)  AND  if the trafficking caused great bodily injury it would an additional 10 years.
  3. Programs for Human Trafficking Victims.From the fines collected, 70% would go to non-profits or public organizations that serve vicitims of human trafficking. The remaining 30% would go to police and law enforcement to increase convictions of human trafficking.
  4. Court proceedings. Proposition 35 will prohibit evidence of sexual criminal conduct to be used against a ‘victim’, if that conduct was a result of human trafficking. (So if you are the victim, you won’t be prosecuted..). It also maintains that evidence of the victim’s sexual conduct can’t be used against them in court. Also, the perpetrator of human trafficking could not say they didn’t know the victim’s age, and use that as a defense.
  5. Law enforcement training.Requires that all police officers and CHP to undergo at least two hours of human trafficking training, to be completed by July 2014 or within 6 months of being assigned to investigative work.
  6. Expanding the requirements of Sex Offender Registration. This requires that sex offenders to provide: Internet provider, email addresses, user names, screen names, or other personal identifiers for use on the Internet  (!!!) to the police or law enforcement. If they change any of these things they must notify the police within 24 hrs.

Fiscal Costs?

  • Minor increase in State and Local Criminal Justice costs ..no more than $2 million annually according to the legislative analysis. (-)
  • Potential increase in local law enforcement training costs.. a one time cost of 2 million. (-)
  • Increased revenue for victim services…not likely to exceed $2 million annually (+)

PROS and CONS

Pros

Via SF-Gate Leah Albright-Byrd a 10 year human trafficking survivor and now Executive Director of  Bridget’s Dream which fights against human trafficking, shares the story of her life and  writes that we should vote Yes on Proposition 35. Why?

  • ..for young girls all over California who are abused and exploited for sex all over California
  • ..human trafficking is a profitiable enterprise and to many, it’s easier than selling drugs.
  • A National Human Trafficking agency gives California a failing grade for our state laws. It’s time for us to do right for our children and help law enforcement protect those most vulnerable.

Cons

Edith Kinny, a visiting assistant professor of Law at Mills College (and graduate of Berkeley Law), says that the focus on sex crimes is too narrow.

  • “Sex rights advocates argue that anti-trafficking campaigns focusing on prostitution do more harm than good for those in the sex industry.”
  • The proposition does not address migrant field workers or those enslaved in sex shops, but instead focuses on prostitution and penalizing not only pimps but all those supported by the sex trade: family members, children and roommates.
  • “Trying to fix the diverse problems of trafficking, forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation through law-and-order interventions is unlikely to remedy deep social and economic causes of those phenomena.”

What do you think?

Do you agree that this Proposition does not do enough to target labor traffickers? Do you think this harms innocent bystanders that just happen to be supported by prostitution?

Share your opinion!

 

 

 

 

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