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Bill Targets Sex Trafficking In California

Assemblyman Brian Maienschein announces state lawmakers are ready to start de...

Photo by Erik Anderson

Above: Assemblyman Brian Maienschein announces state lawmakers are ready to start debating his bill to reduce sex trafficking in California, April 12, 2017.

A state lawmaker from San Diego wants to give prosecutors more tools to fight sex trafficking.

Assemblymember Brian Maienschein is asking fellow lawmakers to give expanded powers to state and local governments. He wants to expand their authority to sue people who are caught paying for sex and to sue the pimps who are enabling the crime.

Assembly Bill 1495 is designed to focus attention on those creating the crime, not the victims of sex traffickers.

"We're hitting them where it hurts. We want to put them out of business financially. Sadly some of them look at the criminal penalties sort of as a cost of doing business," Maienschein said.

A recent study found sex trafficking is an 800-million dollar a year business in San Diego county alone. This bill gives prosecutors the same tools they can currently use to fight commercial fraud.

Money collected because of the law will fund victim assistance programs.

"So all the money that we can get from the pimps and from the johns will go directly to help rehabilitate these women," said Tiffany Mester, a woman who was exploited by a pimp when she was younger.

The bill is being discussed next week in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

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