SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to support efforts to strengthen punishments for pimping, pandering and human trafficking.
The board voted to sponsor state legislation on two related ideas that would enhance punishments for prostitution-related offenses.
The first would add pimping, pandering and human trafficking to a list in the state penal code that defines criminal street gangs. That definition can then be used to enhance penalties for convicted offenders.
The second would enhance punishment for people convicted of prostitution-related offenses within 1,000 feet of schools.
Criminal street gangs have embraced pimping as "the new crack," rivaling drug sales as one of their major sources of funding, according to Supervisor Dianne Jacob.
Law enforcement officials have noticed a growing trend of pimping in and around schools, and new gangs have formed to profit from prostitution, she said.
"These new measures will be a significant tool for law enforcement to be able to pick up gang members who are soliciting and pimping young girls," she said.
Jacob conceded that the county will have to get the proposals through the state Legislature.
"That's going to be an uphill battle," she said. "It will be tough to get a new initiative to pass."
But despite the potential for future struggles with the state, Jacob said she was optimistic.
"Hopefully the vote today will someday put an end to these horrific acts in San Diego County," she said.
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