Bonta Bill to Assist Victims of Human Trafficking Considered by Governor
(Oakland, CA) – Assemblymember Bonta’s bill to preserve the testimony of witnesses in human trafficking cases is now headed to the Governor’s desk.
“AB 1610 protects victims of human trafficking by preserving their testimony in human trafficking-related prosecutions. Preservation of their testimony at a very early stage, in many cases, is necessary to ensure just adjudication,” explained Bonta.
Conditional examinations are conducted prior to and separate from the actual trial to preserve testimony. To ensure that constitutional requirements and protections are met, the examinations are taken in the presence of both parties and counsel. Current law provides for conditional examinations of witnesses under a variety of circumstances, including cases involving serious felonies and domestic violence. But current law does not allow for conditional examinations in human trafficking cases. AB 1610 changes the law to permit conditional examinations of material witnesses in human trafficking-related prosecutions.
The bill’s sponsor, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, has been at the forefront of the campaign against human trafficking. They have developed a billboard and bus shelter campaign to raise awareness of the growing number of sexually exploited minors in the district. They have also sponsored critical legislation to combat the problem on a number of fronts.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said, “I am proud to be the sponsor of AB 1610. The hard work of my office and my staff to combat human trafficking of our children is tireless. We continue to lead the charge in California and across this Nation. Thank you to Assemblymember Bonta for moving this important legislation forward.”
Bonta concluded, “I am happy to team up with the Alameda County District Attorney on AB 1610 to preserve the testimony of victims in human trafficking cases. Victims of human trafficking are a very vulnerable population subject to being harassed, coerced, or physically harmed or killed to prevent them from testifying in criminal prosecutions. AB 1610 preserves testimony to ensure that offenders do not get away with abuse.”
For more information on human exploitation and trafficking, please visit the Alameda District Attorney’s website at www.heat-watch.org.
Assemblymember Bonta represents the 18th Assembly District, which includes Oakland, Alameda and San Leandro. He is the Chair of the Assembly Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security Committee and the Select Committee on Gun Violence in the East Bay. Bonta is also a member of the Assembly Health, Transportation, Banking & Finance, and Elections & Redistricting Committees.