California Proposition 35: Increase penalties for human trafficking, sex slavery
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Next month you'll be asked to vote on Proposition 35, a measure designed to crack down on human trafficking and sex slavery. Prop. 35 backers think it will cut down on crime. Opponents feel it's not necessary.
Proposition 35 dramatically increases the penalties for human trafficking. Prison terms would go from the current maximum eight years up to 12 years to life. Prop. 35 would increase fines as high as $1.5 million.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley is a leader in the fight to pass Prop. 35 and curb the commercial sex trade.
"The exploiter will either use duress or force or coercion or romance -- and I mean a deadly form of romance -- to lure victims into their web," said O'Malley.
Proposition 35 forces convicted traffickers to register as sex offenders for life. It also requires police to have two hours' training on handling trafficking complaints.
Opponents believe the sex offender registration expands an already unwieldy system and that the proposed law is too broad.
"We know that the high fines and penalties in Prop. 35 do not act as deterrents to crime," said Maxine Doogan, Prop. 35 opponent. "The research is very clear that those high fines and penalties actually just cost voters and taxpayers lots of money without receiving any benefit."
Prop. 35 has wide support from law enforcement, yet says nothing about enslaving people to make them work.
O'Malley says Proposition 35 adds to protections already on the books.
"What we're seeing on the streets, what we're seeing on the websites, what we're seeing in motel rooms in hotel rooms is really the sexual commercial exploitation -- human trafficking," said O'Malley.
"The evidence actually shows that education is what is a bigger deterrent to sex trafficking and there's no education in Prop. 35," said Doogan.
But there is a consensus that human trafficking is a serious problem that somehow needs to be addressed.
The general election is on November 6, 2012. Your vote can help decide many important issues for California. Over the next few weeks, Eyewitness News will focus on the propositions on the November ballot.
election, california news, john north
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