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Human trafficking is the world’s fastest growing criminal enterprise with victims as young as 13 being forced into prostitution*
Assemblymember Chris Holden’s bill to aid state law enforcement in stopping the trade of young men and women for prostitution was unanimously approved today by the Assembly Public Safety Committee. AB 156 would allow law enforcement to get a court order for a wiretap when they suspect human trafficking across state and national borders.
“When I learned that criminal gangs were moving thousands of young women and men – some as young as 13 – into California each year and turning them into prostitutes, I was appalled and angry,” explained Assemblymember Holden. “This bill would help law enforcement intercept these guys who prey on our young people and it would turn California into a leader in preventing child trafficking. If it can save one life, then this bill is worth it.”
More than 100,000 American children are exploited through prostitution each year. It is the world’s fastest growing criminal enterprise raking in some $32 billion worldwide. Many of these victims have been in foster care or in the child welfare system and are vulnerable to exploitation.
Testifying today in support of AB 156 was Rosario Dowling with California Against Slavery. She read a statement from a young woman who had been lured into prostitution as a teen but was rescued by a federal wiretap:
“It is important to have the bill pass because it would save the lives of so many children if only we would use it the way it was meant to be used like it was used to save my life,” Stacy Lundgren.
AB 156 has the support of more than 20 California law enforcement agencies and community organizations including California Police Chiefs, Peace Officers Research Association (PORAC) and Crime Victims United. Three other states have approved similar legislation including Texas, Maryland, and Illinois.
*CA Attorney General’s Office