(SACRAMENTO) – Legislation targeting California’s commercial sex trade passed the Assembly Committee on Public Safety today by a 6-1 vote. AB 1771, introduced by Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (D – Long Beach), cracks down on gang members involved in human trafficking.
Assemblymember O’Donnell is pursuing enhanced jail sentences for sex traffickers using their victims to fund gang-related activity. The bill increases the maximum penalty for supervising a prostitute from six months to a year and allows a gang member’s membership to be admitted as evidence during prosecution. Assemblymember O’Donnell is partnering with the Long Beach City Prosecutor’s Office on the bill.
“Sexual exploitation of youth is one of the most heinous criminal acts committed on our streets today,” said Assemblymember O’Donnell. “Unfortunately, it is a rapidly increasing source of illicit income for gangs and other criminal organizations that view it as a low risk enterprise compared to the weapons or drug trade. AB 1771 will begin to ensure the punishment fits the crime in cases of human trafficking in California.”
“Gang members engage in sex trafficking as a means to fuel all other kinds of criminal behavior,” said Long Beach City Prosecutor, Doug Haubert. “Through brutal physical and mental abuse, a person can be sold over and over again, generating sizable profits at the cost of human misery. I applaud Assemblymember O’Donnell for introducing AB 1771, which will provide prosecutors greater opportunities to combat this repulsive crime.”
The bill now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell represents the 70th Assembly District, which includes Long Beach, Signal Hill, San Pedro and Catalina Island.
CONTACT: Jesse M. Switzer, (562) 429-0470