SACRAMENTO - The Senate unanimously approved bipartisan measure co-authored by Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) that would help human trafficking victims get back on their feet. Specifically, Assembly Bill 900 by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher (D-San Diego) would:
- Make it easier for victims to receive compensation for any income they lost, similar to how other victims of crime are currently compensated.
- Authorize the California Victim Compensation Board to provide victims with compensation for any income they lost as a result of being trafficked.
- Address inequities by making victims eligible for compensation from the California Victim Compensation Program for economic losses incurred as a direct result of their being trafficked, and expanding the types of documentation allowed in these cases.
"Human trafficking is a scourge that must be addressed and I'm proud to co-author legislation to assist victims in rebuilding their lives. These victims were exploited into a lifestyle that is equivalent to modern-day slavery. After they escaped this lifestyle, they faced the harsh realities of finding a place to live and paying for basic necessities. Many don't have the proper documentation to file for victim compensation. That's why AB 900 is needed to make it easier for them to apply for restitution.
"I'm hopeful Governor Brown will sign this bipartisan measure into law and am thankful for the work by the author on this important piece of legislation," said Senator Bates.
More than a quarter of federal human trafficking cases are based in California, in which victims are economically exploited through prostitution, domestic service, agriculture, and sweatshop work.
Supporters of AB 900 include the California District Attorneys Association, the California College and University Police Chiefs Association, and the California Narcotic Officers' Association.