RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — A human-trafficking bill recently signed by Gov. Jerry Brown will streamline prosecutions, save taxpayer dollars and reduce trauma to victims appearing in court, officials said.
According to the Riverside County District Attorney's Office, Senate Bill 939 will allow prosecutors to file multiple charges during a single trial against defendants who have committed human trafficking-related offenses across the state of California.
"SB 939 will be a tremendous asset to prosecutors statewide and make it easier and more efficient to prosecute these types of cases," Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach said.
As the law stands now, victims of human trafficking must travel to varying counties where they were exploited to testify against traffickers in separate trials. The new law will eliminate multiple trials in different jurisdictions.
"Human trafficking is the fastest growing crime in California," said Zellerbach. "This new law will also provide human-trafficking victims more protections under the law."
Riverside County Supervising Deputy District Attorney Gerald Fineman initially came up with the idea for such legislation, officials said.
The district attorney's office then drafted the initial bill, which was co-sponsored by San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Sen. Marty Block.
"Human trafficking is among the most despicable and odious of crimes because traffickers treat victims as property to be used and sold," Block said. "Winning the human-trafficking war is a priority for me."
According to authorities, district attorney's offices in Orange and Alameda Counties also supported the bill.
SB 939 was one of few to pass both houses of the Legislature without a single "no" vote, a news release stated.
Brown signed the bill on Friday and it will go into effect Jan. 1.
Potential human-trafficking situations can be reported to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at any time by calling (888) 373-7888.
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