Governor signs three Mitchell bills to combat sex trafficking

September 30, 2014

New laws beef up investigation and sentences, educate youths

Sacramento – Governor Brown has signed into law three Senate bills introduced by Senator Holly J. Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) which promise to help reduce human trafficking for sexual and other kinds of exploitation, particularly of women and children.

SB 955 will allow law enforcement officials to use court-authorized wiretaps when investigating or prosecuting the trafficking of minors. SB 1165 adds teaching trafficking avoidance to public school curricula and SB 1388, which Senator Mitchell jointly authored with Senators Ted Lieu, Jerry Hill and principal co-author Bob Huff, increases criminal penalties for those convicted of trafficking minors or sex.

“Trafficking in human beings, especially the young, as if they were commodities has become a surging ‘growth industry’ in international and domestic crime trade – bringing misery upon the innocent by selling them or their services for the illicit profit and pleasure of the guilty,” said Senator Mitchell, who sits on the Senate’s Public Safety Committee. “But our children are not for sale and we are tooling up to protect them by strengthening education, investigation and enforcement.”

The average age of entry into the sex trade is 12-14 years old; 72% of Californians trafficked are born U.S. citizens; many are approached at school, transit stops, malls, shelters or group homes, often by friends recruited for use by sex traffickers as decoys.

“Young women in foster care and group homes are being targeted and victimized,” said Senator Mitchell, “Children of color, especially, are being trafficked and need the help these new laws will bring.”