California Bill Wants To Help Human Trafficking Victims

Lawmakers in Sacramento are looking to try and help victims of human trafficking get back on their feet. 

Senator Patricia Bates says she's proud to be a co-author on AB 900 bill with Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher. 

"Because it's something that's really been lacking in terms of victims, of being able to get back into independent life, in terms of a good career, instead of being in basically what is close to human slavery," Bates said. 

If Governor Jerry Brown signs the bill, it would reimburse victims for lost income and would also authorize their eligibility for the California Victim Compensation Board to provide additional financial support. 

Senator Bates says, young victims especially find it hard to bounce back. 

"You have no income, no home, you've been separated from a family, trying to get yourself back independent and out of this kind of lifestyle is very difficult," Bates said. 

One study showed that a quarter of all human trafficking cases in the U.S. are based in California, with many victims exploited through prostitution, domestic services, agriculture jobs, and sweatshop work. 

According to Senator Bates, a high percentage of human trafficking cases come through South Orange County and North San Diego county. 

"We're a border county, in San Diego, a lot of it comes in from our ports. We're a tourist hub and destination and service industry," she said. 

The bi-partisan bill is heading for Governor Brown's desk and if signed will give a lot of victims hope, and help remove the negative stigma around the victims. Bates says people should encourage those who have managed to escape human traffickers. 

"Applaud them. Because I think this is very, very difficult. You've got to re-enter police society, so to speak, and that takes a lot of courage. So I would be congratulating them, urging them and certainly supporting them." 

Photo: Getty Images

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