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Holden Bill Fights Human Trafficking

Assembly Bill 156 expands the wiretapping law to include human trafficking.

Under a bill authored by Altadena assemblyman Chris Holden, police officers could secure a wire tap when the suspect is thought to be involved in human trafficking of minors. 

Holden, D-Pasadena, introduced AB 156, designed to give law enforcement a new tool to crack down on the criminals participating in this $32 billion dollar a year enterprise, according to a press release from the legislator's office. California is one of the top destinations for trafficking, with a growing number of girls and boys -- sometimes as young as 12 or 13 -- brought into the state and forced into prostitution.

It is a crime both nationally and internationally. But, like drug and arms trafficking, it is one of the most difficult to pursue.

"You would think in this day and age when traffickers have become more sophisticated, law enforcement would have all the tools it needs to stop these criminals. But you would be wrong," Holden said in a prepared statement.

"This bill will change that and help stop this modern-day slavery that threatens our children, our families and our neighborhoods."

Law enforcement is currently authorized to obtain a court order to wiretap for investigation of drug trafficking or criminal gang activity, but not human trafficking. Under this bill, law enforcement officers can ask a judge for wiretap permit to investigate sex trafficking of a minor.
Estimates are that 100,000 children nationwide are exploited each year.

"The California Police Chiefs Association takes human trafficking very, very seriously", John Lovell, Legislative Advocate for the Association wrote in the press release.

"California's wiretap laws have been crucial in going after complex, multi-level criminal activities. The reality is that human trafficking is an organized criminal enterprise, and the full range of enforcement tools are needed to combat this particular crime."

"It is heartbreaking to hear the stories of these youngsters who are pimped and branded and badly mistreated. I think of my daughter and her friends and I want to do everything possible to stop these horrible crimes. It's the least we can do to protect our children," concluded Holden.

Similar laws are already on the books in several other states including Texas, Illinois and Maryland.

What do you think about Holden's bill? Do you think it will help curb human trafficking or help prosecute more offenders?

Sheila January 23, 2013 at 04:50 PM
Good Job Chris Holden... I fully support his efforts !
Russell Person January 23, 2013 at 08:16 PM
Generally I trust a judge's discretion on allowing wire taps. Their integrity is vital in maintaining a wiretaps use as constitutional. If we make a few mistakes that's ok, the alternative is just unacceptable.
not Carl Peterson lll January 24, 2013 at 08:51 AM
Once i a while I read an article that are at odds with my presumptions. First is....You mean they can't wiretap someone NOW for this? Second is some of the "statistics that everyone repeats without knowing why. The 3.2 billion is worldwide, The 100,000 kids is nationwide. But no one really knows. From what I found, its the number from a single government sponsered estimate of two doctors from the University of Penn. They simply decided how many people they thought ran away. Subtracted those that went back home after 24 hours, subtracted most of the boys, then decided what percent of the at risk runnaways were whould be trafficked. Most of the time that everyone repeats a number for a cause, it is very high, and no one knows how the number came about. But let me be clear. I am shocked that they were not already doing everything possible, such as wiretapping to help these kids. Good for Holden to bring this up. But if there are 100k children being sex trafficked, California would have at least 15 percent of that. Southern Ca. would have about 60 percent of the 15 percent . This would mean that 6,000 children are being "sex slaves" in southern Ca. tonight. I would guess maybe a few dozen, NOT 6,000. They also estimated that 1/3 of street prostitutes are underage. In my years of driving to hollywood acting classes, I don'y remember seeing any underage on sunset BLVD back in the 1980's. Am I wrong here.....or what?

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