H.E.A.T.Watch – Stop Human Exploitation and Trafficking

Alameda County H.E.A.T. Watch Tip Line: 1-510-208-4959.
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Policy

H.E.A.T. Watch Legislation

While elected officials want to do the right thing and get involved in this issue, many are at a loss as to how to respond. Given their unique positions on the front lines of fighting human trafficking, District Attorneys, Public Defenders, Civil Law Practitioners, Family Law Practitioners, Judges, Probation Officers, Social Services, Child Protective Service Providers, Mental Health Providers, Victim-Advocates as well as community and faith-based organizations must coordinate efforts to identify areas for change in statewide and national policy. These same groups must work together to inform policymakers of their finding and suggest legislative changes. Thereafter, the emphasis must shift toward supporting the legislative effort.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office continues to be a national leader in the enactment and implementation of laws, and the education of lawmakers, decision makers and policy makers. The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office filed the first human trafficking case focusing on prosecuting traffickers.

The following summarizes significant California legislation sponsored or supported by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office that addresses human trafficking and more particularly, CSEC:

  • AB 22 (2005) Created a privilege for communications made by a trafficking victim to human trafficking caseworker. This privilege may be asserted by either the trafficking victim, the human trafficking caseworker or by a person authorized to act on behalf of the trafficking victim. A human trafficking caseworker is defined as a person who is employed by an organization for the purposes of rendering advice or assistance to victims of human trafficking. This person must receive specialized training in the counseling of human trafficking victims and meets other educational and training requirements. The holder of the privilege is the victim.
  • AB 499 (2008) and AB 799 (2011) Created a pilot program to develop a model addressing the needs and treatment of exploited youth, including the development of a protocol for identifying minors arrested or detained who may be exploited youth, a diversion program of best practices, and a training curriculum to be provided to county employees and law enforcement. The pilot project requires the District Attorney of Alameda County to submit a report by 2016 summarizing activities to determine if the pilot program should be extended and distributed to other counties in 2017.
  • AB 17 (2009) The Human Trafficking Penalties Act quadrupled fines against traffickers from $5,000 to $20,000 and enabled law enforcement to seize assets associated with the conviction. The bill also continuously directs 50 percent of those funds to community organizations serving underage victims of sexual exploitation.
  • AB 12 (2011) The Abolition of Child Commerce, Exploitation, and Sexual Slavery Act (ACCESS) required that a person convicted of seeking the services of a prostitute under the age of 18 be ordered to pay an additional fine not to exceed $25,000. This money is used to fund programs and services for exploited youth in the counties where the offenses took place.
  • AB 90 (2011) This law expands the types of human trafficking crimes subject to the criminal profiteering asset forfeiture laws and makes the resulting funds available for minor victims of human trafficking through the Victim-Witness Assistance Fund.
  • AB 764 (2011) AB 764 adds a new donation box to the state income tax form that allows taxpayers to donate to programs that provide assistance to exploited youth.
  • SB 130 (2013) This law extends law to allow a victim of human trafficking to have up to two support persons of his or her own choosing during the giving of testimony at the preliminary hearing and at the trial or juvenile court proceeding.

Proposition 35 – The Californians Against Sexual Exploitation Act (CASE Act)

In 2012, California voters passed Proposition 35, the CASE Act through the Initiative Process – legislative changes brought by the People for the People of California. The CASE Act is by far the strongest legislative response to human trafficking to date in the State. It was passed by popular vote by an overwhelming 81%. The change in law dramatically increased punishments and fines for those convicted of human trafficking, redefined the conduct that constitutes human trafficking in California and required mandatory registration for those convicted of sex trafficking, to name a few components.

For assistance in developing human trafficking policies and laws, email info@heatwatch.org.

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This website is supported in part by Grant No.90ZV0092 awarded by the Rescue and Restore Victims of Human Trafficking Regional Program, Anti-Trafficking In Persons Division, Office of Refugee Resettlement/ACF, Department of Health and Human Services. The contents on this website are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of HHS.