Earlier this week, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced that the Human Trafficking Prevention Education and Training Act was being rolled out in the state.
Assembly Bill 1227 was sponsored by Assembly member Rob Bonta and Assembly member Evan Low.
Under the new legislation, prevention education is mandated for both teachers and students in California in regards to labour trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation.
Asserting that the state takes the fight against trafficking “seriously”, Becerra said that education is “key” to keep children safe.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 1227 into law on Oct. 7, 2017 making the state in the U.S. first to adopt education and also training for students and teachers to prevent human trafficking.
A letter was recently sent out to school districts of the state by Becerra along with the California Department of Education which detailed the new requirements as per the law.
State A National Leader In Fight Against Human Trafficking
Bonta said that the law had made California “a national and global leader” in the battle against human trafficking. He observed that with preventative education, it is possible to tackle human trafficking at root by identifying students being trafficked and also reduce the chances of others getting trapped in it.
The law has been supported by 3Strands Global Foundation of El Dorado Hill which has carried out numerous sting operations in the county leading to several arrests and also the rescue of human trafficking victims.
Ashlie Bryant, CEO and co-founder of 3Strands Global Foundation applauded the state leadership for coming together to develop “an innovative approach” to address the issue of human trafficking.
Series Of Stings Against Trafficking And Prostitution Rings
In March 2017, detectives from the El Dorado County sheriff’s office successfully executed a sting against human trafficking and prostitution in Placerville which resulted in the arrest of five individuals.
In another such raid in December, 14 arrests were made in regards to prostitution and human trafficking.
According to the sheriff’s department the operations were “victim centered” with the focus being on the pimp and not the prostitutes, and on identifying the traffickers.
“Younger looking” prostitutes seen online and thought to be working in El Dorado County were also targeted in the December operation. This was done as a way to save minor victims from being trafficked.
After being identified, the victims of human trafficking were provided with necessary enforcement action. Additionally, the victims were supported by advocates who helped them to access appropriate services.
Issue A Top Priority For State AG
Attorney General Becerra has made combatting human trafficking a top priority.
- This month special agents of California Department of Justice arrested a woman from Sacramento for being allegedly involved in an international sex trafficking ring.
- In July last year the AG filed around 54 felony charges with respect to sex trafficking against three individuals – Quinton Brown, Gerald Turner, and Mia McNeil – based on an investigation conducted by several local law enforcement authorities including L.A. Sheriff’s Department, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, the California Department of Justice and L.A. Regional Human Trafficking Task Force.
Brown and Turner pled guilty in January, as a result of which Brown is likely to spend 28 years in prison while Turner may serve out an 11-year sentence.
- In August 2017 Becerra received permission to prosecute three other individuals on 25 felony counts related to money laundering and conspiracy charges for using a website Backpage.com as an online multi-million-dollar sex trafficking hub.