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Saturday, December 15 , 2018, 10:21 pm | Fair 49º

 
 
 
 

Assemblymember Williams Introduces Human Trafficking Bill

Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Carpinteria) has introduced AB 2513, providing judges with the discretion to consider the vulnerability of a victim of human trafficking as an aggravating factor when sentencing criminals.

Specifically, a judge could consider whether or not the victim was recruited, enticed or targeted from a shelter or runaway youth center; was a foster child, homeless person or victim of human trafficking or domestic violence.

This bill addresses the need for additional protection for vulnerable victims that Proposition 35, the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation (CASE) Act, leaves out due to different factors for victims.

“The voters of California determined in November of 2012 that they would not tolerate violations of human rights when they passed the CASE Act with 81 percent of the vote,” said Williams. “Empowering our judges is one way to discourage criminals from participating in acts of human trafficking.”

The impact of the criminal conduct is magnified when it is perpetrated against victims who are already vulnerable. Victims targeted from their foster homes, for example, lose contact with their community and have their education and development impeded, which can leave a lasting and irreparable impact on the victim, preventing them from achieving success.

Adding to the list of aggravating factors is particularly necessary when an estimated 50 percent of commercially exploited children in California are or were formally involved with the child welfare system.

“It is our responsibility as a society to care for those who are defenseless and in need of community support,” Williams said. “Discouraging offenders from preying on the easiest targets in our community is critical to protecting these individuals from trafficking. It is only appropriate that those who are already vulnerable are further protected to prevent criminals from taking advantage of their situation.”

Hillary Blackerby represents the Office of Assemblymember Das Williams.

 

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