Stopping the Sexual Exploitation of Minors / Human Trafficking

CAI is working on several fronts to eliminate the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) and improve outcomes for CSEC victims. For example, CAI is working to inform the public, child advocates, and policymakers about the scope and extent of this problem, working to dispel the myth that this is only happening in other parts of the world. A recent study found that in San Diego County alone, the underground sex trafficking economy generates over $800 million a year. Many victims start out as minors; the average age of a victim entering the industry is 16, with recruitment commonly taking place on high school and middle school campuses and in group homes serving foster children. CAI has also successfully sponsored several measures through the legislative process aimed at addressing various aspects of this issue, and is currently working on ensuring their full and appropriate implementation.

CAI's work in this area includes the following:

  • In addition to following up on the implementation of the enacted measures discussed below, CAI is engaged in a variety of other forms of advocacy on behalf of CSEC, such as engaging in executive branch advocacy to assure effective enforcement of current CSEC statutes; highlighting CSEC as a Children’s Advocates Roundtable topic for statewide planning in prevention and enforcement; promoting attorney education on CSEC issues; urging appropriate funding for CSEC prevention and enforcement; monitoring federal legislation regarding internet CSEC practices, with appropriate enforcement advocacy to the FTC and U.S. Attorneys; researching and analyzing emerging areas of focus in CSEC advocacy; participating in local and state working groups, coalitions, and collaborations working to eliminate the commercial sexual exploitation of children, and to increase the resources and services available to CSEC victims; creating a Fall 2019 clinical opportunity for students to work on trafficking issues in a collaborative program involving other law schools, as well as with other academic and community partners; participating in the San Diego Human Trafficking Research and Data Advisory Roundtable; presenting at annual JUST (Juvenile Sex Trafficking) national conferences; participating in a USD campus-wide effort to host an anti-trafficking Impact Strategy Summit; and exploring a collaborative effort to engage in research, education, and training to better inform those involved in the child welfare system of the unique needs and issues impacting trafficked mothers whose children are in the child welfare system, as well as the unique needs and issues impacting the involved children, to ensure that these mothers and children have the appropriate services, resources, and assistance that will put them on track toward successful reunifications.
  • CAI-sponsored AB 2207 (Eggman) (Chapter 757, Statutes of 2018) makes legislative findings and declarations related to CSEC in California, the intersection between CSEC and the child welfare system, and the provision of services to these youth by the state, and places a deadline of January 1, 2020, on the requirement in current law that the Department of Social Services, in consultation with stakeholders, must develop model policies, procedures, and protocols to assist counties achieve certain goals related to the commercial sexual exploitation of youthreceiving child welfare services, as specified.
  • CAI-sponsored AB 2105 (Maienschein) (Chapter 166, Statutes of 2018) creates enhanced civil penalties, tripling any existing statutory civil penalty and providing an alternative $10,000 to $50,000 fine if no civil penalty is provided by statute, for acts that constitute the commercial sexual exploitation of a minor or nonminor dependent.
  • Also during 2018, CAI supported AB 1735 (Cunningham) (Chapter 805, Statutes of 2018), which requires courts to consider issuing a protective order in all cases in which a criminal defendant has been convicted of human trafficking with the intent to obtain forced labor or services, and pimping or pandering without regard to whether the victim is a minor. CAI also helped defeat AB 2714 (Allen), which would have repealed the decriminalization of prostitution offenses committed by minors, and would have established a deferred entry of judgment pilot program for CSEC victims. CAI argued effectively that, even if well-intentioned, the bill would have permitted children who are rape victims to be arrested, booked, and imprisoned as if they were criminals.
  • House of Representatives Passes CAI-Supported Bipartisan Legislation to Prevent and Address Sex Trafficking of Youth in Foster Care (May 20, 2014)
  • CAI-sponsored SB 114 (Pavley) extends the sunset date by three years for the discretionary pilot project in Los Angeles County regarding the development of a comprehensive, multidisciplinary model reflecting the best practices for the response of law enforcement and the criminal juvenile justice systems to identify, assess and address the needs of commercially sexually exploited children who have been arrested or detained by local law enforcement. (Chapter 42, Statutes of 2013).
  • CAI-sponsored SB 1279 (Pavley) gives statutory authority to the District Attorney’s office of Los Angeles County to develop a pilot project, contingent upon local funding, for the purposes of developing a comprehensive, multidisciplinary model to address the needs and effective treatment of commercially sexually exploited minors. Status: signed by the Governor on July 19, 2010 (Chapter 116, Statutes of 2010).
  • August 2020 CAI issues a Child Trafficking Fact Sheet to combat misinformation spread through social media outlets