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Crime & Justice

Human traffickers could be forced to hand over profits made off victims

A young girl writes,
A young girl writes, "I've been through it's okay," on a brick as away to deal with the experiences of forced prostitution at an empowerment conference for girls.
Erika Aguilar/KPCC

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People convicted of human trafficking would have to fork over the profits their victims earned, if the governor signs a couple of bills on his desk.

The California legislature passed during the final week of the session SB 1133 introduced by Sen. Mark Leon (D-San Franscico) that would apply to traffickers found guilty of forcing underage minors into sex work.

The bill forces convicted pimps to hand over money made, including assets such as a vehicle or a house if it was used to facilitate trafficking. The state would use the money to distribute to various state counseling funds to help victims of human trafficking and try to prevent the practice from spreading.

Law enforcement agencies say traffickers require some victims forced into prostitution to bring in at least $500 a night.

But sometimes when they are arrested, traffickers hand over money or assets to another person for safekeeping.

So a second bill awaiting the governor’s signature, AB 2466 authored by Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield (D-San Fernando Valley) would allow prosecutors to freeze the sale of any property — say a house or car — when prosecutors file human trafficking charges against someone to prevent the accused from liquidating. The money seized if the person is found guilty, would be used to pay the trafficked victims restitution.

Both bills enjoyed bipartisan support.

Two months ago, the FBI conducted a sweep that rescued five teen prostitutes from forced sex work in Los Angeles and nabbed three alleged pimps.