SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced on Tuesday that two bills that will help victims by making it more difficult for human traffickers to hide their assets have passed the legislature and have been sent to the governor’s desk.
Assembly Bill 2466, by Bob Blumenfield (D-San Fernando Valley), ensures that criminal defendants involved in human trafficking will not dispose of assets that would otherwise be provided as restitution to victims.
Senate Bill 1133, by Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), expands the list of assets that a human trafficker must forfeit and provides a formula for using those resources to help victims of human trafficking. Both bills passed unanimously with bipartisan support.
“Human trafficking is big business in California. It is a high profit criminal industry that is expanding rapidly across the globe, including here in California,” said Attorney General Harris. “This legislation will make sure those who perpetrate these crimes will not profit from them.”
Senate Bill 1133 ensures that those convicted of human trafficking crimes involving minors will not be able to keep the financial benefits reaped from their unlawful activity.
The bill expands the scope of property subject to forfeiture and provides a formula to redirect those resources to community groups that aid victims of human trafficking.
“Sex trafficking of minors is a horrendous crime that is driven by the prospect of lucrative profits,” said Senator Leno. “This legislation aims to deprive convicted criminals of the financial resources and assets that would allow them to continue luring young people into the sex trade. In turn, proceeds from those forfeitures would rightfully be used to help victims begin to repair their lives.”
Assembly Bill 2466 (Preservation of Assets for Victims of Human Trafficking), will help to ensure that more victims of human trafficking receive restitution. Under California law, victims are entitled to mandatory restitution; however there are no laws to help prevent human trafficking defendants from liquidating and hiding their assets before conviction.
Assembly Bill 2466 would allow a court to order the preservation of the assets and property by persons charged with human trafficking.
“Trafficking is slavery and we cannot have the perpetrators of this despicable crime gaming the system in California,” said Assemblymember Blumenfield. “We need all hands on deck to confront trafficking. By signing this bill, the governor can help reclaim justice for victims.”
Attorney General Harris is committed to the fight against this fast-growing crime that deprives persons of basic human rights. Harris co-sponsored the California Human Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2005, which made human trafficking a felony in California.
Attorney General Harris also has served on the California Alliance to Combat Trafficking and Slavery Task Force.
Human trafficking is estimated to be a $32 billion industry, the world’s third most profitable criminal enterprise behind drugs and arms trafficking.
Human trafficking involves the recruitment, smuggling, transporting, harboring, buying, or selling of a person for purposes of exploitation, prostitution, domestic servitude, sweatshop labor, migrant work, agricultural labor, peonage, bondage, or involuntary servitude.
While human trafficking often involves the smuggling of human beings across international borders, numerous Americans are trafficked around the United States ever year.
Human trafficking strips people, especially women and children, of their freedom and violates our nation’s promise that every person in the United States is guaranteed basic human rights.
For more information on the trafficking of human beings, go to www.oag.ca.gov/human-trafficking .