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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 2, 2017
Sam Mahood or Jesse Melgar
Bill Would Protect Victims of Human Trafficking by Expanding State’s 'Safe at Home' Program
SACRAMENTO, CA – Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) today announced the introduction of Senate Bill 597, which would make victims of human trafficking eligible for the state’s Safe at Home confidential address program. Safe at Home services are currently offered to victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.
“Like survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, survivors of human trafficking should also have access to the Safe at Home program,” Secretary of State Padilla said. “The Safe at Home program can help victims better their lives with greater peace of mind. With the passage of SB 597, survivors of human trafficking would be able to receive mail, open a bank account, register to vote, and fill out government documents confidentially and free from fear.”
Founded in 1999, Safe at Home is California’s confidential address program administered by the California Secretary of State’s office. The program, which provides a free post office box and mail forwarding service, is designed to help victims and survivors of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault to start new lives in peace and to provide added protections to their overall safety plans. The program also helps reproductive health care doctors, nurses, volunteers, and patients.
“The Secretary of State’s ‘Safe at Home’ program already provides important privacy and safety protections to victims of domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault, so I am pleased that SB 597 will now add victims of human trafficking to this list of people that can be protected,” said Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino). “California is one of the top four human trafficking destinations in our country, which clearly shows the urgency of enacting these expanded protections. SB 597 allows victims of human trafficking to have a life that is free from fear and having to look over their shoulder every waking moment. I look forward to continue working with the bill’s sponsor Secretary of State Alex Padilla to further protect these victims and provide them with the peace of mind that they need and deserve.”
Human trafficking is the world’s fastest growing criminal enterprise and is an estimated $32 billion-a-year global activity, according to the California Attorney General’s office. The United Nations estimated the profits associated with human trafficking reached about $150 billion in 2012. Of that, about $100 billion was tied to sexual exploitation.
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.
The International Labour Organization reported that 18.7 million people are forced into labor and exploited by individuals or enterprises and of those, 4.5 million are forced into sexual exploitation.