Proposition 35 more than doubles maximum sentences for human sex traffickers. Sex trafficking is a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States and affects children as young as 12 years old.
The FBI says three of the nation's highest child sex trafficking areas are in California. Some say this is because existing California laws aren't strong enough.
Many law enforcement officials support the proposed legislation. Tom Dominguez is President of the Orange County Deputy Sheriffs Association.
“Relative to what the current sentences and penalties are, I think this is a vast improvement.”
However, others point out holes they say would make the law ineffective.
Norma Jean Almodovar is an author, a former Los Angeles Police Department officer, and a former sex worker. Her main concern is the language of the law.
“It is such a vague law. It's over-broad, and it can be used anyway the cops want it to be used, and that is a serious problem.”
Almodovar says it's so broad it could deem a prostitute's landlord a sex trafficker if they accept rent money that was earned in the sex trade. But Dominguez says that wouldn't happen under the proposed law.
“That characterization and example that she gives are not accurate. That is a stretch.”
Another argument against the proposition is its hefty price tag, and some argue California already has tough punishment for trafficking.
Almodovar says Prop 35 fails to punish the appropriate people.
“It doesn't include people who actually harm prostitutes, like the cops who rape us, like the men who have sex with children not for money, like the Jerry Sandusky's.”
Other opponents include exotic service providers and the California Council of Churches. Supporters of the proposition include the California and Democratic and Republican parties and many more law enforcement organizations.
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