Today, Senate Minority Leader Brian W. Jones (R-San Diego) announced that his measure to protect human trafficking victims and make it easier to prosecute human trafficking perpetrators unanimously passed out of the Assembly Public Safety Committee.
“Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery,” said Leader Jones. “The evil people who buy and sell humans for their own benefit must be convicted to prevent further trauma for all victims. This bill will help bring justice to human trafficking victims and prevent further exploitation of innocent people by putting perpetrators behind bars. Thank you to the members of the Assembly Public Safety Committee for understanding the importance of this issue and moving the bill forward.”
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 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.
Leader Jones submitted a corresponding budget request of $2.6 million to create a grant program for District Attorney Offices to establish or maintain vertical prosecution programs for the purpose of prosecuting human trafficking cases. Click here for the budget request letter.
SB 236 is supported by the California District Attorneys Association, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, the City of San Marcos, San Diegans Against Crime, and others.
The measure unanimously passed out of the Assembly Public Safety Committee on a bipartisan 7-0 vote with Assemblymembers Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer (D-South Los Angeles), Juan Alanis (R-Modesto), Isaac Bryan (D-Los Angeles), Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale), Liz Ortega (D-San Leandro), Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), Corey Jackson (D-Moreno Valley) supporting the measure. Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Oakland) did not vote. SB 236 will next be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.