Block human trafficking bill would spare victims trauma and speed prosecution

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SACRAMENTO – Senator Marty Block (SD-39) recently introduced legislation, SB 939, which would streamline prosecution of human trafficking charges and help victims avoid the trauma of testifying in multiple jurisdictions against their traffickers.


SB 939 would permit the consolidation of serial human trafficking, pimping, and pandering charges into a single trial if all the involved jurisdictions agree. Frequently, victims are taken to multiple cities and counties for labor and commercial sex exploitation. Prosecution involves trials in each of the multiple locations where the crimes occurred. Current law allows for the consolidation of other serial sexual offenses occurring in multiple jurisdictions.


“Human trafficking is among the most despicable and odious of crimes because traffickers treat victims as property to be used and sold,” Block said. “SB 939 will save money for our court system and will eliminate the need for victims, witnesses, and defendants to travel to multiple counties to testify in court proceedings. Currently, victims must travel to each jurisdiction where the crimes occurred and testify multiple times in front of their traffickers. Multiple trials only repeat the trauma.”


While in the Assembly, Block successfully authored a measure to help stem human trafficking,  AB 2212, which allows local law enforcement to shut down sites engaged in human trafficking as a per se nuisance. It also allows financial penalties to be levied against the property owners of the sites to help fund programs for victims. Last year, he introduced SB 473 which would add human trafficking to the list of crimes used to define a criminal street gang under the Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act to ensure that the prosecution and punishment of gang members exploiting human lives is comparable to the prosecution of gang members engaged in robbery and narcotic sales.


SB 939 is co-sponsored by the District Attorneys of Riverside, San Diego, Alameda and Orange Counties.