United States: California Enacts New Anti-Trafficking Laws

In September, the Governor of California signed several bills into law that would provide new protections for minor sex trafficking victims and reduce penalties for prostitution-related offenses. In particular, the new laws would prohibit the prosecution of minors for the “crimes of solicitation and loitering with intent to commit prostitution.” The laws would also authorize enhanced witness protections and services for young victims who testify against their traffickers.

Other legislation would remove mandatory minimum sentences for certain prostitution related offenses and provide different statutory definitions for sex buyers and sex sellers. However, the Governor rejected a bill that would increase criminal penalties for sex buyers. Additionally, critics argued that the bills did not do go far enough to expand the state's "network of social services" for vulnerable young victims.  

 

Compiled from: Ulloa, Jazmine, California decriminalizes prostitution for minors after Gov. Jerry Brown signs bills to aid trafficking victims, The Los Angeles Times (September 26, 2016); Ulloa, Jazmine, No more mandatory minimum sentences for some prostitution crimes in California, The Los Angeles Times (September 30, 2016).