FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 28, 2016
CONTACT: Bill Bird @ 916-651-4029
Governor Signs Measure to Protect Children Against Predators
Huff Legislation Targets Lucrative Human Trafficking Trade
SACRAMENTO: Legislation designed to collect accurate data on purchasers of sex has been signed into law by the Governor. SB 420, authored by Senator Bob Huff (R-San Dimas), targets the demand side of human trafficking by amending Penal Code Section 647(b) to make a clear distinction between the buyers and sellers of human trafficking and prostitution.
There is no distinction under current law between an adult who is selling, from the adult who is purchasing, or an adult who is purchasing sex from a minor. The Huff measure will collect accurate and verifiable data with a focus on the buyers of sex, which can help shape future public policies, best practices, and provide accurate data necessary to direct existing law enforcement resources.
“By US State Department estimates, sex trafficking is a $32 billion industry in this country and 50 percent of trafficking victims are minors,” said Senator Huff. “Yet according to the 2007 Final Report of the California Alliance to Combat Trafficking and Slavery Task Force, California lacks comprehensive statistics on human trafficking. SB 420 will help collect the statistics that law enforcement needs.”
Sponsored by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and supported by the California District Attorneys Association, California Against Slavery and Survivors for Solutions, SB 420 would break down Penal Code 647(b) into three sections:
• Adults offering to engage in commercial sex acts with a buyer
• Solicitors of commercial sexual acts from adults
• Solicitors of commercial sexual acts from minors
“SB 420 will provide much needed data in our ongoing fight to put an end to sexual exploitation and trafficking,” said Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley. “This law will provide law enforcement and the justice system with data that will aid in directing resources to best combat human trafficking. It will also pave the way for future laws aimed at curbing the demand for the purchase of sex in our communities. I am grateful to Senator Huff for authoring this important piece of legislation and I thank Governor Brown for signing it.”
Recently passed legislation has strengthened the ability to prosecute traffickers but the challenge of putting a stop to human trafficking does not end there. As Senator Huff pointed during a number of committee hearings on SB 420, as long as there is demand, there will be an exploiter to fill it.
“The sad reality is that human trafficking is incredibly lucrative,” said Senator Huff. “You can sell a drug only once, but a human being can be used over and over again. SB 420 is essential for crafting solutions to a disturbing public safety enemy in our communities, especially among at-risk youth.”
Senator Huff represents the 29th Senate District covering portions of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino Counties. Follow Senator Huff on Twitter at @bobhuff99.