Yesterday, a measure by Senate Minority Leader Brian W. Jones (R-San Diego) to protect human trafficking victims and make it easier to prosecute human trafficking perpetrators unanimously passed out of the Senate Public Safety Committee.
“Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery,” said Leader Jones. “We must use every resource available to help protect victims from further trauma and convict the evil people who buy and sell humans for their own benefit, often across jurisdictions. This is not a partisan issue and I’m grateful that the Senate Public Safety Committee unanimously agreed to move this commonsense measure forward. This bill will help bring justice to those who have fallen prey to the heinous crime of human trafficking, and help stop the exploitation of innocent individuals by putting perpetrators behind bars.”
Specifically, Senate Bill 236 provides funding to District Attorneys for a “vertical prosecution” team to prosecute human trafficking cases. “Vertical prosecution” allows one prosecutor to stay with a human trafficking case from start to finish, rather than the traditional prosecution system where different prosecutors are responsible for each step of the process or each separate criminal charge. Click here for the SB 236 factsheet.
These vertical prosecution programs ease strain on victims, as they are able to develop and maintain a relationship with a single prosecutor throughout the process as opposed to repeatedly having to redevelop their relationship with a new district attorney at each step of the way. By having one district attorney responsible for prosecuting the case throughout all jurisdictions and charges, the prosecution process is streamlined and more effective.
SB 236 unanimously passed out of the Senate Public Safety Committee on a 5-0 vote with Senators Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R-Yucaipa), Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), Aisha Wahab (D-Hayward), and Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) supporting the measure. SB 236 will next be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee.