State Assembly Passes Bill to Crackdown on Sex Trafficking in Los Angeles

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra’s legislation supported by Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez

(SACRAMENTO) – The State Assembly voted 60-1 to approve Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra’s (D-Pacoima) legislation to curb prostitution on streets throughout the City of Los Angeles.  AB 1206 would establish 24-month pilot program in Los Angeles to allow law enforcement agencies to impound vehicles of “johns” and pimps that are used during solicitation of prostitution. 

“This is an important step to 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.”

The measure would allow the City of LA to adopt an ordinance to impound and seize a vehicle used in the act of soliciting prostitution for up to 30 days 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.  Johns toss used condoms, drug paraphernalia, beer bottles, and other junk on our neighborhood streets where kids have to walk over them to get to school.  When we arrest these Johns, their vehicles shouldn’t remain behind.  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.

“Human trafficking is a problem in Los Angeles where vehicles play a key role,” said Assemblymember Bocanegra. “AB 1206 creates a zero tolerance policy for soliciting prostitution, and anyone using their car will have their vehicle towed.”

AB 1206 now heads to the Senate for consideration.

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.

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