Statement of Laurel Bellows, President, American Bar Association Re: California Human Trafficking Law
WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 9, 2012 – California’s overwhelming support for Proposition 35 is an encouraging sign that human trafficking in the United States is becoming part of the national dialogue.
The Californians Against Sexual Exploitation Act (CASE) aims to toughen punishments for those who exploit human beings for profit, raise awareness about the existence of modern-day slavery in our country and ensure that law enforcement officials identify children as victims rather than criminals. Although some have suggested changes to this law that merit consideration, Californians’ strong support for the CASE Act demonstrates that our nation’s most populous state is taking seriously the elimination of what is perhaps the greatest criminal justice issue of our time. This law, like the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act, is a step forward in fighting modern-day slavery.
California’s focus on human trafficking should serve as a model for other states. The American Bar Association and the ABA’s Task Force on Human Trafficking are working with the Uniform Law Commission to draft a model statute on human trafficking to be implemented by states across the country. It is the ABA’s goal that lawyers around the nation work with their state legislatures to pass this model anti-human trafficking law once it is approved by the commission, as soon as this summer.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.