California Against Slavery is now gathering signatures for a state ballot initiative to strengthen human trafficking laws. The initiative would deter traffickers with stiffer criminal penalties, aid district attorneys in prosecuting human trafficking offenses, increase protection for human trafficking victims, and mandate human trafficking training for law enforcement officers.
Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery and its victims are subjected to force, fraud, or coercion, for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labor. It happens in the United States and worldwide.
"We support and desperately need to see revision in our state law with regard to human trafficking," said Jenny Williamson, founder and president of Courage to Be You, a Sacramento-area organization that rescues and restores victims of child sex trafficking. "Severe fines and extended jail time for the perpetrators of this evil must be enacted if ever this crime is to be deterred. Our courageous law enforcement officers must be equipped and encouraged with mandatory, specific training so that rescuing these vulnerable victims and putting their perpetrators away becomes a priority within our state."
The California Against Slavery initiative is endorsed by many organizations combating human trafficking, including Breaking Chains, Captive Daughters, Courage to be You, International Justice Mission (IJM), Lotus Outreach, MISSSEY, Oasis USA, Polaris Project, Shared Hope, and Stop Child Trafficking Now.
"California is a major hub for human trafficking," said Linda Smith, founder and president of Shared Hope International. "We fully endorse the California Against Slavery initiative because we see the strategic importance of having stronger state laws in place in the fight against human trafficking."
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