December 16, 2018

Let’s Put an End to the Criminalization of Human Trafficking Victims in CA!

Human trafficking is the equivalent of modern day slavery. Although California is a major hub of human trafficking, there are still many misconceptions about it. When one hears the words, “human trafficking,” the first thought in the minds of many individuals is sex trafficking, but labor trafficking is also very prevalent. Sex trafficking is defined as using force, fraud, or coercion to recruit, harbor, transport, obtain, or employ a person for commercial sex services or in which the person performing the act is under the age of 18; while labor trafficking is defined as using force, fraud, or coercion to recruit, harbor, transport, obtain or employ a person for labor or services in involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. Among the“>Calls and emails to the Governor’s office will be extremely beneficial in urging him to support these important pieces of legislation. Both affirmative defense and vacating convictions are tools utilized in treating victims as victims, not criminals. Affirmative defense is crucial in that it doesn’t create a backlog or waiting period; it can be used at any point. These victims have been though the unimaginable, and this immediate solace is necessary in providing justice. 34 other states have already enacted similar laws granting an affirmative defense for human trafficking victims; it is imperative that California do the same.  Vacating convictions is the only way for a victim to move on with his or her life. Without this, they will always be seen as criminals, not as the people they truly are. 23 states have established a way for human trafficking victims to vacate their convictions, but we are behind the curve.

California is typically thought of as a progressive state, however states like Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin have already provided these protections for victims seeking justice. If California truly wants to live up to its reputation, it is time we do the same. It is critical to contact Governor Brown now to urge him to sign both AB 1761 (Weber) and AB 1762 (Campos) into law!