SAN DIEGO–Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 939, authored by State Senator Marty Block and co-sponsored by the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.
The bill makes it possible for prosecutors to file multiple charges against a defendant who commits human trafficking-related offenses in multiple jurisdictions across the State of California, holding them accountable during a single prosecution. The new law would eliminate multiple trials in several different jurisdictions, streamlining prosecutions and saving taxpayer dollars.
Earlier this month, San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis joined colleagues from the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, Orange County District Attorney’s Office and Riverside County District Attorney’s Office to support the passage of the bill.
“This new law will save victims of human trafficking from having to testify in multiple trials, facing their traffickers and re-living a nightmare in court over and over again,” said DA Dumanis.
Victims of human trafficking are often exploited in different counties and cities up and down the state of California. As the law stands now, victims in these multi-jurisdictional cases must travel to those varying counties to testify in separate trials. The change in the law takes effect January 1, 2015.
Recent statistics show the number of cases prosecuted under state sex trafficking statutes have more than tripled over the past four years in San Diego County. Last year, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office filed human trafficking-related charges against 43 defendants in cases that involved some 50 victims, nine of whom were under the age of 18. San Diego has been identified as one of the FBI’s High-Intensity Child Prostitution Areas.
The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office has a Sex Crimes and Human Trafficking Division with specialized prosecutors, investigators and victim advocates to successfully prosecute the perpetrators and compassionately handle victims.