For Immediate Release
March 29, 2012
Contact: Sarah Hersh, 510-550-8170 (office)/510-759-2921 (cell)
Sacramento, CA – The Californians Against Sexual Exploitation (CASE) Act campaign today announced the submission of more than 865,000 signatures to qualify for the November 2012 ballot. The CASE Act is a ballot initiative that will fight back against human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of women and children in the state.
The number of signatures submitted by the campaign far exceeds the approximately 500,000 needed to qualify the measure for the ballot.
In California, many vulnerable women and young girls are held against their will and forced to sell their bodies. The victims are often girls as young as 12 who are sexually exploited for the financial gain of human traffickers. They are afraid for their lives and abused – sexually, physically, and mentally.
Human trafficking is said to be one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world – and it is taking place right here in our own backyard. Three cities in California – San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego – are recognized by the FBI as high intensity child sex trafficking areas. In addition, a recent national study by a victims’ rights group gave California an “F” grade for its weak laws dealing with child sex trafficking.
The CASE Act, a partnership of California Against Slavery and the Safer California Foundation, will protect children in California by:
· Increasing prison terms for human traffickers.
· Requiring convicted sex traffickers to register as sex offenders.
· Requiring all registered sex offenders to disclose their internet accounts.
· Requiring criminal fines from convicted human traffickers to pay for services to help victims.
The CASE Act has also been endorsed by organizations representing over 90,000 rank and file California Peace Officers; advocates for the protection of children, including Marc Klaas and the KlaasKids Foundation; and victims who survived sexual exploitation when they were children.
For comprehensive information on the CASE Act, visit www.caseact.org. See below for quotes on the importance of this ballot initiative from community leaders, law enforcement officials, human trafficking survivors, and others.
Dellena Hoyer, Human Trafficking Survivor:
“I was trafficked at the age of twelve on the streets of Sacramento, just blocks from the State Capitol. I used to wonder – why didn’t anyone come up to me, and ask what a little girl was doing out on the streets at one o’clock in the morning? No one should have to endure what I went through. That’s why we must pass the CASE Act – to fight back against human trafficking in California.”
Leah Albright-Byrd, Human Trafficking Survivor:
“At age 14 I ran away from my home in San Francisco. I thought I was on the path to a better life, but instead I ran right into the arms of a human trafficker. For years, I was physically, sexually, and emotionally abused – all when I was still just a child. As a survivor of these experiences, I’m asking Californians to take a stand against human trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and children in our state and pass the CASE Act.”
Chris Kelly, Former Chief Privacy Officer at Facebook & Founder, Safer California Foundation:
“Anonymity on the internet has allowed human traffickers access and opportunity to sexually exploit children in our state. Right now, we are missing out on critical data that could protect kids online. By requiring sex offenders to provide information to the authorities about their online accounts we can make the internet a much safer place for California’s children.”
Daphne Phung, Founder, California Against Slavery:
“We can’t just stand by while sex traffickers get rich and throw away their victims. The CASE Act is our opportunity to say we will not tolerate the sexual abuse of women and children in California. It’s time to pass the CASE Act and make sure the victims of these horrible crimes receive the justice they deserve and help getting their lives back on track.”
Assemblymember Nathan Fletcher, California’s 75th District:
“The CASE Act is a much-needed step forward in the fight against human trafficking in San Diego and across our state. I’m proud to be part of a bipartisan coalition that’s taking a stand against these crimes. We must do everything we can to stop the exploitation of women and children in California.”
Assemblymember Roger Dickinson, California’s 9th District:
“It’s unconscionable that human traffickers are able to exploit vulnerable women and children in the streets of Sacramento and online throughout our state. It’s time to take a stand against human trafficking and pass the CASE Act in November.”
Nancy O’Malley, Alameda County District Attorney:
“As a District Attorney who has worked for decades to crack down on human trafficking, I can say with firsthand experience that the CASE Act will help protect our state’s most vulnerable women and children. Increasing penalties for human traffickers and online predators and strengthening victims services are much-needed steps in the fight against these crimes.”
Marc Klaas, KlaasKids Foundation:
“In communities across California there are monsters who prey on women and children – both on the streets and online. With the CASE Act, we can help protect innocent children by requiring all registered sex offenders to disclose their internet accounts and requiring convicted sex traffickers to register as sex offenders. We can fight back against sexual predators and make the internet a safer place for innocent children.”
Ron Cottingham, President, Peace Officers Research Association of California:
“The CASE Act will be a monumental step forward for California in preventing sexual exploitation and protecting victims of human trafficking – which is why over 90,000 California Peace Officers strongly support this ballot initiative. As those on the front lines in the fight against human trafficking, we see the need to protect women and children on our street and on the internet by increasing penalties against human traffickers and online predators.”
Brian Marvel, President, San Diego Police Officers Association:
“For over a decade, I’ve worked to protect and serve the people of San Diego. During this time, I’ve confronted the reality of human trafficking on our streets. From my experience, I see the need for the CASE Act, which will increase prison terms for human traffickers and require convicted sex traffickers to register as sex offenders. This initiative will give law enforcement the tools we need to prevent horrible crimes and save lives.”
Laura McLean, STARS Coordinator, San Diego Youth Services:
“I work with many young women and children who have been sexually exploited in San Diego. They have experienced horrific traumas at the hands of traffickers who view them solely as commodities to be bought and sold. By supporting the CASE Act, we can let the victims of these crimes know that California stands with them and against the perpetrators of these crimes.”
Sher Barber, Executive Director, Wind Youth Services (Sacramento):
“We provide services to many young people who have been sexually exploited and trafficked on the streets of Sacramento and throughout Northern California. As service providers who confront the tragic results of human trafficking on a daily basis, we know that California can and must do more for the victims of these crimes. For these young people and all the other victims across our state, we support any legislation that advocates on behalf of victims of sex trafficking.”
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About the CASE Act
The CASE Act is a joint partnership of California Against Slavery and the Safer California Foundation. Slated for the November 2012 ballot once qualified, the CASE Act is a ballot initiative to fight back against human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of women and children. It increases penalties against human traffickers, requires convicted sex traffickers to register as sex offenders, requires all registered sex offenders to provide the authorities with information about their internet accounts, and uses the fines against convicted traffickers to pay for victim services. For more information, visit www.caseact.org.
About California Against Slavery
California Against Slavery (CAS) is a non-partisan human rights organization dedicated to ending human trafficking, starting where we live. The organization’s mission is to defend the freedom of every child, woman and man by empowering the people of California to fulfill our obligation to stop human trafficking. For more information, visit www.californiaagainstslavery.org.
About the Safer California Foundation
The Safer California Foundation is dedicated to supporting efforts to protect Californians from all forms of criminal exploitation. Created by Chris Kelly, former Facebook Chief Privacy Officer and a Silicon Valley attorney and philanthropist, the Safer California Foundation looks forward to the day when every neighborhood in California is as safe as our most secure neighborhoods today.