This week, I would like to talk about a crisis that is not happening “over there,” but happening right here in our streets, our neighborhoods and to our girls: Child sex-trafficking. Proposition 35–better known as the CASE Act, would be the toughest human trafficking law in the country.
Girls as young as 10 years-old are being coerced into prostitution in our local communities, and bought and sold on the internet. California does not currently have laws to adequately protect our most vulnerable children.
Proposition 35 would increase prison terms for human traffickers, require convicted sex traffickers to register as sex offenders, mandate training for law enforcement officers, and require criminal fines from convicted human traffickers to pay for services to help victims.
Proposition 35 will also make it easier for a prosecutor to charge a trafficker who uses the internet to sell children for sex, while also providing services to help the young victims recover.
Under current law, it is the children themselves who are being prosecuted, as if any young girl would choose this life. In fact, almost 500 juveniles are arrested for prostitution each year across California, 35 percent in Los Angeles County alone.
We must focus our efforts on the people responsible for exploiting these children so horribly and bring them to justice.