FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 24, 2015
CONTACT: Bill Bird @ 916-651-4029
Human Trafficking Bill Gets Unanimous Committee Support
Huff Legislation Targets the Demand Side of Human Trafficking
SACRAMENTO: Legislation authored by Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) passed a key policy committee test in the Senate Public Safety Committee today. SB 420 targets the demand side of human trafficking by amending Penal Code Section 647b 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 a minor for sex. 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 and supported by the California District Attorneys Association, SB 420 will allow the state to collect important data regarding buyers and sellers of sex. This information is essential for prosecutors when it comes to crafting solutions to a growing problem in our communities, especially among at-risk youth.
For the purposes of data collection, SB 420 would break down Penal Code 647b 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
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 out during the committee hearing, 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. Prostitution related crimes ensnare at-risk girls and boys who are enticed on the internet or found trying to survive on the streets. SB 420 is essential for crafting solutions to a disturbing public safety enemy in our communities, especially among at-risk youth.”
Senator Huff serves as the Senate Republican Leader and represents the 29th Senate District covering portions of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino Counties. Follow Senator Huff on Twitter at @bobhuff99.