We have only today to raise our voice for victims of human trafficking.
AB 1761 offers the FACT of being trafficked as an affirmative defense against crimes into which the victims were coerced to commit by the people who enslaved them.
The bill goes to the floor of the Assembly tomorrow, and it's important that we advocate for this defense. Whether it is prostitution, drugs, theft, burglary - these people are acting not of their own free will but under massive duress. They are often young, fearful of lethal harm to themselves or their families, and they see no help from law enforcement. That is especially true for those who are also unwilling immigrants. The system tends to cite them no matter what the circumstances of their deeds. This perpetuates the power traffickers hold over these victims.
Please contact your Assembly member today to advocate for this affirmative defense. Note that the Sheriffs, District Attorneys, and other law enforcement do not want this bill to pass. It will make their lives more difficult since cut-and-dried charges and convictions will have to become more careful.
But isn't that the point of restorative justice? To make sure it is true justice and not just going through the motions? It's up to us to affirm that clearing cases when it involves people who are victims is not consistent with our values of justice and democracy. Your voice matters here - alone or with your organization.
To access your Assembly Member's contact information please go to: http://www.churchimpact.org/take-action.html
Those who are often victims of our judicial system's secondary re-victimization need you. Please tell your Assembly Member that being trafficked is an affirmative reason to evaluate the actions of victims differently, to reduce (not eliminate) charges, and to work as much to protect the victim from further abuse, this time by us. Support AB 1761 tomorrow, May 19.