Senate Passes Leyva Bill Protecting Victims of Human Trafficking

SB 597 Expands ‘Safe at Home’ Services for Human Trafficking Victims

Thursday, June 1, 2017

SACRAMENTO – Legislation authored by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) and sponsored by California Secretary of State Alex Padilla that would make victims of human trafficking eligible for the state’s Safe at Home confidential address program passed from the California State Senate with unanimous support.

SB 597 would expand the protections provided by the Secretary of State’s ‘Safe at Home’ program to include victims of human trafficking, as well as members of the victim’s household.  ‘Safe at Home’ program participants receive a free post office box, mail forwarding service and a confidential address that can help ensure their ongoing safety.  ‘Safe at Home’ services are currently offered to victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, as well as reproductive health care doctors, nurses, volunteers and patients.

“SB 597 is a critically important bill that will help protect victims of human trafficking and their families here in California,” Senator Leyva said.  “Expanding the Secretary of State’s ‘Safe at Home’ program is a logical next step so that some of the most vulnerable victims and survivors of serious crimes in California do not have to constantly look over their shoulder and can live a live that is free from fear.  I appreciate Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s continued commitment to the ‘Safe at Home’ program and further strengthening California’s commitment to protecting victims of crime, including human trafficking.”

According to California Department of Justice report, California is one of the top four human trafficking destinations in the nation.  In 2016, The National Human Trafficking Hotline reports receiving 4,137 calls about human trafficking in California resulting in 1,323 cases—nearly twice as many cases than any other state in the nation. Over 1,000 of those cases dealt with sex trafficking.

Earlier this year, Los Angeles County authorities announced the arrest of 474 people in a human trafficking sting.  During that operation, 28 sexually exploited children were rescued and services were offered to 20 adults who reported being victims of sex trafficking.

SB 597 is supported by the Alliance of Catholic Health Care, California Association of Clerks and Election Officials Elections Legislative Committee, California Catholic Conference, California District Attorneys Association, Junior Leagues of California State Public Affairs Committee, Los Angeles County Professional Peace Officers Association, National Association of Social Workers – California Chapter, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California and the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.