Bill Aims To Help Human Trafficking Victims Make A Fresh Start
A bill that's advancing through the California Legislature is aimed at helping human trafficking victims make a fresh start.
It creates a legal pathway to erase any non-violent arrest or conviction put on a person's record while he or she was a victim of human trafficking.
Under SB 823, proposed by Democratic State Senator Marty Block who represents San Diego's 39th District, records of any non-violent arrest or conviction while a person was a victim of human trafficking would be sealed.
"Human trafficking victims — they've been exploited by their captor for years and years — sometimes finally break away, get out of that lifestyle and eventually try to rebuild their lives," Block said. "If they have long criminal records, it's almost impossible for them to rebuild their lives."
The California District Attorneys Association, including the San Diego County District Attorney's Office, has come out against the bill.
In a letter to Block dated April 5, Sean Hoffman, director of legislation for the CDAA wrote:
"We believe that SB 823 would promote criminal conduct by creating an incentive for traffickers to enlist their victims to commit crimes, knowing full well that the people they press into service will not be held responsible for their actions."
Block said there are tens of thousands of trafficking victims in the state, and many are being sexually exploited or in forced labor situations. He discusses the bill on KPBS Midday Edition Thursday.