Human Trafficking

California Bill Providing Relief for Trafficking Victims Receives Support

By Danielle Jarvis

A new California that is being introduced next January has received the support of The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE).

The NCOSE says that California bill AB 262 will provide one of the “best forms of exit services” for victims of human trafficking once it goes into law in January 2022. 

Related: Christian Leader: “Facebook Allowing Sex Trafficking While Blocking Christian Sites”

This bill expands vacatur relief for trafficking victims, including those who were prostituted. It does this by removing time limits on when they can seek relief, removing requirements of proving their status with clear and convincing evidence, and not using unpaid fees or failed probation conditions against the party seeking relief. The relief is for nonviolent offenses, including but not limited to prostitution, committed as a result of the person being trafficked.

“Vacatur is one of the best forms of exit services for a victim of human trafficking, and we are grateful to the California legislature and to Governor Newsom for their support,” said Dawn Hawkins, CEO of NCOSE.

“Moreover, this bill will be truly empowering to survivors, allowing them to pursue educational opportunities, licensing and careers otherwise barred to record-holders. This allows survivors to access quality economic sustainability and stability in their lives. 

“This bill makes it possible for many more victims to seek relief. It makes the process less onerous, grants the relief more quickly, and vacates the record completely. We need solutions like this for survivors to reclaim their lives and to thrive.” 

Meanwhile, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been applauded for signing a new law into place that will tackle human trafficking head on. SB 1826 will improve protections for human trafficking victims in several ways.

In discussing the Florida law, NCOSE said that it believes it creates a privilege for communications between victims of human trafficking and trained advocates; and authorizes judges to make procedural accommodations for victims of human sex trafficking in judicial proceedings. The bill also expands the definition of human trafficking to include, “purchasing patronizing, or procuring” another person for exploitation; and to include the trafficking of “an adult believed by the person to be a child.”