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January 1, 2013 > Human trafficking trends and law enforcement responses

Human trafficking trends and law enforcement responses

Submitted By the Office of the State Attorney General

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris released The State of Human Trafficking in California 2012, on November 16, 2012. The report outlines the growing prevalence of the crime of human trafficking in the state, the increasing involvement of sophisticated transnational gangs in perpetrating the crime and the modern technologies traffickers use to facilitate it.

Harris released the report at the Human Trafficking Leadership Symposium, hosted by the University of Southern California in partnership with Humanity United. Leaders from law enforcement, victim service groups, non-government organizations and other groups convened to discuss the report and consider best practices in the fight against forced labor and sex trafficking. U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis and Mexico Attorney General Marisela Morales Ib‡–ez provided keynote remarks at the symposium.

ÒHuman trafficking is a growing threat because criminal organizations have determined it is a low-risk, high-reward crime. WeÕre here to change that calculus,Ó said Harris. ÒWe must counter the ruthlessness of human traffickers with our resolve, innovation and collaboration. Law enforcement must continue to train, gather data and work to close down human trafficking operations in our state.Ó

Releasing the report on the current state of human trafficking is one of the steps Harris has taken to combat the crime. In October 2012, Harris and Mexico Attorney General Marisela Morales Ib‡–ez signed an accord to help expand prosecutions and secure convictions of criminals who engage in the trafficking of human beings. In June 2012, Harris partnered with the Polaris Project and Yahoo! to help provide human trafficking victims access to resources via sponsored search results displayed to potential victims. In 2011, the Attorney General joined the National Association of Attorneys General in calling on to shut down its adult services section which had been used to facilitate sex trafficking.

Harris also sponsored two new anti-trafficking laws, Assembly Bill 2466, by Bob Blumenfield (D-San Fernando Valley), which ensures that criminal defendants involved in human trafficking will not dispose of assets that would otherwise be provided as restitution to victims; and Senate Bill 1133, by Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), which expands the list of assets that a human trafficker must forfeit and provides a formula for using those resources to help victims of human trafficking. Both laws will take effect on January 1, 2013.

Human trafficking involves the recruitment, smuggling, transportation, harboring, purchase or sale of a person for exploitation, prostitution, domestic servitude, sweatshop labor, migrant work, agricultural labor, peonage, bondage or involuntary servitude. While human trafficking often involves the smuggling of human beings across international borders, numerous Americans are trafficked around the United States every year. Human trafficking strips people, especially women and children, of their freedom and violates our nationÕs promise that every person in the United States is guaranteed basic human rights.

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