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Valley law enforcement agencies back state bill that would create harsher punishments for human trafficking

FRESNO, California (KFSN) – Debra Rush has dedicated her life to being a staunch supporter of victims of trafficking.

The founder of Breaking the Chains says SB 1042 would step up those efforts.

“As a survivor, it is disgusting for me to believe that what I went through and others went through was not violent,” he said.

The bill would amend the existing law to add human trafficking to the list of both serious and violent crimes in the state of California, including for the purposes of the Three Strikes Act, which would strengthen the punishment of convicts.

One of the largest trafficking hubs is located here in California, including Central Valley, which is why local law enforcement agencies are coming out to support this legislation.

“There are thousands of girls moving around the Central Valley every day,” said Fresno County Prosecutor Lisa Smithkamp.

Smittcamp says that in 2020, its office received 15 cases of human trafficking. In 2021, he says that number has doubled.

“You have to understand that each of them is a pimp, each of them is the head of an organization that has potentially 5, 10, 20, 30 girls,” he said.

At a press conference on Friday, she and other valley leaders said SB 1042 would play a key role in combating trafficking.
“The vast majority of victims of this type of crime do not want to do it,” said Fresno police chief Paco Balderrama. “They are trapped and looking to us to save them from this situation.”

Balderama said his department made 186 arrests last year, resulting in the rescue of 106 girls. These rebounds are 29 so far this year.

Co-author of the bill, MP Jim Patterson, says the law and its consequences should reflect the gravity of the crime.

“We want to make sure that these traffickers are treated as criminals and we put it in the statute,” he said.

The bill is still in the very early stages of the legislative process as it was introduced just two weeks ago.

In the investigation of this story, there was no vocal opposition to it, but we know that opponents of the law on the three strikes as a whole often claim that it disproportionately affects people of color.

We will continue to monitor the progress of this legislation. He will go to the Public Safety Committee for further review.

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Valley law enforcement agencies back state bill that would create harsher punishments for human trafficking Source link Valley law enforcement agencies back state bill that would create harsher punishments for human trafficking

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