So we have many bills currently proposed in the state legislature. (see our previous post)
However, even if these pass, there are still needs to be addressed that are not in the current law. One major need is for the state law to reflect the federal definition of human trafficking of minors in prosecution of perpetrators of such a crime. In order to prove that a suspect is guilty of sex trafficking of an adult, it must be proven that there was force, fraud, or coercion involved. However, any juvenile who is being sold for sex is a sex trafficking victim, regardless if force, fraud, or coercion was used, according to the federal definition of human trafficking. As of yet, though, California state law requires that force, fraud, or coercion be proven for all human trafficking cases, including those involving juvenile victim. (Fortunately, California has one of the highest ratings for key Human Trafficking provisions, granted by Polaris Project)
California Against Slavery is working to get an initiative on the 2012 California ballot.
According to the group, this ballot initiative would strengthen California’s human trafficking laws by:
Increasing penalty for human trafficking from the current 8-year maximum in prison to a maximum of life in prison and fines up to $500,000
Protecting minors by allowing prosecutors to prove sex trafficking of a minor without a showing of force
Mandating human trafficking training for law enforcement officers.
To get the initiative on the ballot, they need to get 700,000 signatures and raise $1 million.
CAS has a list of their needs and volunteer opportunities on their website at http://californiaagainstslavery.org/get-involved/