Governor Signs Bill to Protect Survivors of Human Trafficking and Fast-Track Court Cases

Monday, September 26, 2016

(Sacramento, CA) - Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2498 which addresses the horrible epidemic of human trafficking by protecting the privacy of survivors and helping speed up the wheels of justice. AB 2498, authored by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), will allow victims to shield their names, addresses, and images, and the names, addresses, and images of their immediate family members from public records.  The law also requires survivors be informed of these new rights.

“California has taken an important step to protect survivors of the epidemic of human trafficking," Bonta explained. "This law will ensure survivors and their immediate family members are shielded from having their private information made public and potentially being further traumatized all over again.”

AB 2498 also helps bring human traffickers to justice more quickly by allowing judges to hear these cases earlier on their court calendars. 

“With more prosecution of human trafficking cases, our courts are facing historic backlogs of unheard cases. AB 2498 provides critical help by giving judges the ability to hear these time-sensitive cases sooner,” Bonta said. “We are streamlining the process to ensure justice is achieved in a timely manner for survivors of human trafficking.”

In 2014, 75 percent of California’s human trafficking cases were related to sex trafficking, and the San Francisco Bay Area has been named by the FBI as one of the top 13 hot spots in the nation for child sex trafficking. The issue hits home for Bonta who represents Oakland, a city that has consistently ranked as a hot spot for human trafficking.

AB 2498 is supported by advocacy groups and law enforcement including the Alameda County District Attorney’s office.

"I wish to thank Governor Brown for signing AB 2498 and Assemblymember Bonta for authoring this important piece of legislation that will help victims of human trafficking. AB 2498 is essential for the safety and security of victims by ensuring their identities are kept confidential and not become a public record. It will also provide guidance to the county courts to hear time-sensitive human trafficking cases quickly, sending a clear message to traffickers that justice for these victims are a top priority," said Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O'Malley.

"Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and it must be stopped. This is a top priority for me.  I am fighting to protect survivors and punish the exploiters and buyers who are destroying young lives," Bonta concluded.

Assemblymember Bonta represents the 18th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro. Bonta Chairs the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus, Assembly Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security Committee, and the Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color.