Legislation to Crackdown on Sex Trafficking Sent to Governor

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

(SACRAMENTO) – The legislature has approved Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra’s (D-Pacoima) legislation to curb prostitution on streets throughout the Cities of Los Angeles, Oakland, and Sacramento. AB 1206 would establish a 24-month pilot program to allow law enforcement agencies to seize vehicles of “johns” and pimps that are used during solicitation of prostitution. The bill is now headed to the Governor’s Desk for action.

“We must protect our neighborhoods from people who are taking advantage of women who are being trafficked,” said Assemblymember Bocanegra.  “Unfortunately, many parts of my district have a high amount of prostitution, and we need to provide law enforcement the tools to end sex trafficking once and for all.  This is a message to everyone involved in trafficking that we will not tolerate this activity.”

The measure would allow the Cities of LA, Oakland, and Sacramento to adopt an ordinance to seize a vehicle used in the act of soliciting prostitution prior to a conviction.  Currently, law enforcement can only tow a vehicle if the john or pimp has a prior conviction within the last three years.  AB 1206 would also require the city to create a diversion program to prostitutes cited or arrested in the course of the pilot program, and require the city to issue a report within six months of the completion of the pilot program.

“For years I’ve looked for a partner in Sacramento to help push this bill, and finally found one with the leadership of Assemblymember Bocanegra,” said Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez. “When a John comes to my district, make no mistake about it, he is using his vehicle to engage in sexual violence against women and girls.  We must keep our streets safe from these predators and the vehicles they use to execute their crimes.”

It has been well-documented how the San Fernando Valley has been plagued by prostitution over the past decade.  In response to this epidemic, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) created the “Valley Bureau Human Trafficking Task Force.” In 2016, LAPD’s task force made more than 500 arrests, issued more than 3,000 citations, and rescued at least 10 human trafficking victims, eight of whom were minors. One of the most popular venues for prostitution and sex trafficking is the motor vehicle, which serves as not only a venue for service, but also a venue for transportation of individuals against their will.  The task force regularly receives complaints citing motor vehicles parking in residential driveways while services are rendered. And residents have also reported used condoms, wrappers, needles and syringes on their driveways, sidewalks, and streets.

"AB 1206 will provide a forceful deterrent that will prevent ‘johns’ from seeking to purchase sex in the future, while at the same time signaling to the public at large that this will not be tolerated,” said Vice Mayor Annie Campbell Washington of Oakland. “I want to thank Assembly Member Bocanegra for his leadership on this important policy topic and for including the City of Oakland as one of the pilot cities.   While we recognize that putting an end to human trafficking is a multifaceted effort we believe that greater enforcement efforts are not only required, but desperately needed which is why we are proud to support this bill and look forward to it becoming law."

Raul Bocanegra is the Democratic Majority Whip in the California State Assembly.  He represents the 39th Assembly District, which includes the Los Angeles communities of Arleta, Granada Hills, Lakeview Terrace, Mission Hills, North Hollywood, Pacoima, Shadow Hills, Sun Valley, Sunland-Tujunga, Sylmar and the City of San Fernando.

Contact: Luis Sanchez

Luis.Sanchez@asm.ca.gov

(916) 319-2039