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LOS ANGELES - On a motion from Supervisor Don Knabe, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors this week voted unanimously to support the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation (CASE) Act which would strengthen penalties against human traffickers and protect sexually exploited children.
The Board also urged voters to vote in favor of the CASE Act in the November 2012 statewide election.
If enacted into law, the CASE Act would be the toughest human trafficking law in the country, county officials said. It would increase prison terms for human traffickers, require convicted sex traffickers to register as sex offenders, mandate training for law enforcement officers, and require criminal fines from convicted human traffickers to pay for services to help victims.
"Communities (throughout) the United States are facing the horrific reality of child sex trafficking occurring right here on our streets and in our neighborhoods. It is not a problem 'over there,'" said Knabe. "Sadly, Los Angeles County is recognized as one of the major hubs for this criminal activity. The average age of a victim that is sexually trafficked is between 12 and 14 years of age."
Knabe said he wants Los Angeles County "to be a national leader in fighting this heinous crime and protecting our vulnerable youth."
"Earlier this year, I asked the County's Probation Department to implement a program that will give the girls who come into our system a chance to heal and an opportunity for a new life," Knabe added. "But we must also deal with the real criminals here - the pimps who forcibly coerce and manipulate young girls into selling their bodies for their financial benefit. The CASE Act would be a major step forward in enacting tougher penalties and putting an end to the physical and mental abuse of these young girls."
Published: April 12, 2012 - Volume 10 - Issue 52