County endorses tougher penalties for human trafficking

LOS ANGELES - On a motion from Supervisor Don Knabe, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors this week voted to unanimously support and co-sponsor legislation that would add pimping, pandering and human trafficking to the list of crimes that are associated with gang activity.Senate Bill 473, authored by Sen. Marty Block and sponsored by San Diego County, would create tougher penalties for gang members convicted of human trafficking, including adding a three-year prison sentence for anyone convicted of a human trafficking crime that occurs on or within 1,000 feet of a school. "Untold numbers of children fall victim to predatory adults, many of whom have ties to criminal street gangs," said Knabe. "They are sexually exploited and abused in unspeakably brutal ways, all for commercial gain. "Criminal street gangs have embraced human trafficking as a lucrative revenue source; as sex trafficking now rivals narcotic sales as the major source of revenue for many gangs. "This legislation would be a major step forward in putting an end to the physical and mental abuse of these young girls."

********** Published: March 7, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 47