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  1. #1
    Senior Member dman1200's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    South Carolina

    Governor Praised For Signing Human Trafficking Bill

    Governor Praised For Signing Human Trafficking Bill

    POSTED: 2:26 pm PDT September 21, 2005
    UPDATED: 2:37 pm PDT September 21, 2005

    LOS ANGELES -- District Attorney Steve Cooley joined human rights activists and other law enforcement officials Wednesday in praising the governor for signing into law a bill that makes human trafficking a state crime.

    "This is an important bill for front-line law enforcement and D.A.s throughout California," Cooley said at a news conference originally scheduled to encourage the governor to sign Assembly Bill 22.

    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced Wednesday morning that he had signed the legislation, which makes human trafficking a felony in California.

    Through the law, offenders can receive three to five years in state prison for trafficking an adult and up to eight years in prison if the victim is under the age of 18, said San Francisco District Attorney Kamala D. Harris.

    The bill also allows for the forfeiture of assets gained from human trafficking and establishes restitution and civil remedies for victims.

    A new crime category hasn't been created in the state since 1997, Harris said.

    Florencia Molina, 32, said she was the victim of human trafficking in 2002. Her sewing teacher convinced her to leave her three children in a small town in Mexico -- where she was making about $10 a week -- and head to the United States for employment, she said.

    Once the women arrived in Los Angeles County, they were forced to work in a sweatshop, sewing and cutting fabrics and doing other duties, she said.

    The garment shop boss took Molina's passport and other documents and told her that she would have to work to pay off $2,500 the employer claimed was owed for getting her into the United States, she said.

    "I had to work 17 hours a day," said Molina, who said she was given 10 minutes a day to eat a simple meal of rice and beans.

    Molina said she was forbidden to leave the shop, where she stayed over a month before convincing her boss to allow her to go to Catholic Mass one Sunday.

    Although she had every intention of going to church, Molina said that once she was outside she realized the possibility of freedom.

    A Spanish-speaking man on the street helped her use a pay phone to call a co-worker, whose number she had secretly tucked away, Molina said.

    "People will hear my story and know that slavery still exists," she said.

    Molina said she still fears her trafficker, who traveled to Mexico to confront Molina's mother after she escaped.

    The trafficker was sentenced to six months of home arrest but is now free, she said.

    Under the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act of 2000, Molina was given a three-year visa, which expires soon. But she hopes to stay and bring her children to the United States to be with her.

    Human trafficking is a federal crime through the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which outlaws slavery and involuntary servitude.

    VTVPA supplemented existing law and established new tools to combat trafficking and aid victims.

    At least 18,000 to 20,000 people are smuggled into the United States each year, said Patricia Chang, who heads the Women's Foundation of California.

    "California, with its large immigrant population, has one of the highest incidents of trafficking in this country," Chang said. "Trafficked, enslaved individuals are oftentimes forced to work in domestic service, in prostitution, in factories such as sweatshops, in hotels and in restaurants."

    Assemblywoman Sally J. Lieber, D-Mountain View, who authored the bill, said the next step is to train local law enforcement agencies in the new law.

    "What we will be looking for is very swift implementation of this bill," she said.

    Schwarzenegger called human trafficking "a horrific crime that our society cannot abide."

    "By finally making the practice of human trafficking a crime in our state, and by increasing the penalties for the criminals who engage in it, we send a clear message that this practice will not be tolerated in California," the governor said.

    Schwarzenegger also signed SB 180, authored by Sen. Shelia Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, which establishes a task force to evaluate programs available to victims of trafficking.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member JohnB2012's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Raleigh, NC
    Under the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act of 2000, Molina was given a three-year visa, which expires soon. But she hopes to stay and bring her children to the United States to be with her.
    Three year visa what's up with that? Why would we do that? The US didn't victimize these people. If they catch the trafficer we keep the victim around for the trial and then they need to be sent back home.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Dec 2004
    Oak Island, North Mexolina
    I still like Arnold.
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