By Don Knabe, County of Los Angeles, Fourth District
The fight to end the horrors of child sex trafficking continues in Los Angeles County. Earlier this year, I directed the County’s probation department to develop a comprehensive plan to support the victims of this horrible crime. They are developing some groundbreaking programs that I hope other communities across the nation can model.
In the coming months, you will also see a campaign from Metro, which I asked them to do to build community awareness in the very places where these young girls are most susceptible– train stations and bus stops.
While we do all we can to support the victims, we must also aggressively pursue the criminals who forcibly coerce and manipulate young girls into selling their bodies for their financial benefit. I am one of the first legislators in California to come out and support the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation (CASE) Act, which would strengthen penalties against human traffickers and protect sexually exploited children. It is my hope that other leaders across the state will join me.
If enacted into law, the CASE Act would be the toughest human-trafficking law in the country. It would increase prison terms for human traffickers, require convicted sex traffickers to register as sex offenders, mandate training for law-enforcement officers and require criminal fines from convicted human traffickers to pay for services to help victims.
Communities through the United States are facing the horrific reality of child sex trafficking occurring right here on our streets and in our neighborhoods. It is not a problem “over there.”
I want Los Angeles County to be a national leader in fighting this heinous crime and protecting our vulnerable youth. The CASE Act would be a major step forward in enacting tougher penalties and putting an end to the physical and mental abuse of these young girls.
For more information, visit knabe.com .