California Bill Would Classify Human Trafficking as Gang Crime

Capital Public Radio | April 03, 2014

State law enforcement officials say gangs have become more involved in human trafficking because people can be repeatedly sold for profit, unlike drugs and guns.

“Essentially it’s the use of human beings as objects and treating them as expendable commodities,” says Ellyn Bell is with the Sage Project, an anti-trafficking group. “That’s whether it’s for labor or sex and that’s highly disturbing.”

The legislature is considering a range of human trafficking bills from one that adds it to the serious felonies list, to another that would allow multiple human trafficking charges to be tried in one jurisdiction.

State law allows crimes to be classified as “gang activities” when law enforcement is able to show a pattern of organization. Sentences for gang-related crimes are usually stiffer.

The measure now awaits an Assembly floor vote.

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Photo credit: Max Pringle / CPRN

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