SAN DIEGO (CNS) - District attorneys from San Diego, Riverside, Orange and Alameda counties joined forces Monday to support passage of a bill aimed at sparing human trafficking victims from having to testify at multiple trials in different jurisdictions, streamlining prosecutions and saving taxpayer dollars.
SB 939 is up for a committee vote Tuesday in Sacramento. Proponents expect the bill to pass in the Senate, then move through the Assembly and on to the governor's desk.
"Human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world," said San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. "It is now ranked second only to narcotics trafficking in California."
Dumanis said SB 939 "would close loopholes, expand protection and spare victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation the trauma of facing their traffickers in multiple trials and re-living a nightmare in court over and over. We join our DA colleagues in sponsoring this legislation and urge its passage."
Victims of human trafficking and its related crimes are often exploited in different counties and cities across California to evade law enforcement detection and to increase profit for the perpetrators. Suspects are commonly part of organized criminal enterprises.
The bill would amend a penal code section to create a consolidated trial process for human trafficking-related offenses to mimic the prosecution of other crimes committed by serial perpetrators such as child molesters and rapists.
"Human trafficking is a heinous crime," said Sen. Marty Block, D-San Diego, the bill's author."Attacking the financially lucrative criminal enterprise cannot be fought one jurisdiction at a time. Human trafficking must be fought collectively: pooling our resources and intelligence and multiplying the impact of every effort. That's what this bill is about."
Recent statistics show the number of cases prosecuted under state sex trafficking statutes have more than tripled over the past four years in San Diego County. Last year, the San Diego County District Attorney's Office filed human trafficking-related charges against 43 defendants in cases involving 50 victims, nine of whom were under 18.
San Diego has been identified as one the FBI's High Intensity Child Prostitution Areas.
Tuesday is one of the cheesiest days of the year. Sept. 18 is the made-up holiday of National Cheeseburger Day, and restaurants are celebrating with discounts and free burgers.
Controversy swirled up again in Encinitas over a staircase project proposed for Beacon’s Beach. The city has long been looking to replace the iconic Switchback Trail leading to Beacon’s Beach with a concrete staircase but many residents are not embracing the idea.
Stretches of state Route 163 will be closed beginning Monday night and continuing through Friday morning for maintenance work and to reduce the height of the overpass at Friars Road, Caltrans announced.
Temperatures Tuesday are near average, continuing to cool through Friday. Gusty winds in the mountains and deserts from the afternoon through evening.
The 22-year-old man who was shot by sheriff's deputies near the ticket window of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club was arraigned at his hospital bed at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla on Monday.
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa said Monday that he plans to blast off on the first-ever commercial trip around the moon and will invite six to eight artists, architects, designers and other creative people on the weeklong journey.
A U.S. citizen was indicted by a federal grand jury in San Diego Monday on charges of stealing nearly $100,000 in Social Security disability benefits by concealing his overseas residency for almost a decade.
A male east African black rhino that was once a resident of San Diego Zoo Safari Park has made quite a journey to help promote breeding of the critically endangered black rhino
The San Diego City Council Monday unanimously approved a plan to revitalize the Midway and Pacific Highway communities by adding parkland, pedestrian pathways and increased capacity for housing and making a series of traffic improvements.