A bill signed into law Friday by Gov. Jerry Brown allows cases against defendants accused of committing human trafficking crimes in multiple jurisdictions to be combined in a single trial.
“This new law will save victims of human trafficking from having to testify in multiple trials, facing their traffickers, and re-living a nightmare in court over and over again,” said San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, who, earlier this month, joined colleagues from Alameda, Orange and Riverside counties to support the passage of the bill.
Victims of human trafficking are often exploited in different counties and cities, authorities said. As the law stands now, victims in multi-jurisdictional cases must testify in separate trials.
The change in the law takes effect Jan. 1. Senate Bill 939 was authored by state Sen. Marty Block, D-San Diego.
The number of cases prosecuted under state sex trafficking statutes has more than tripled over the past four years in San Diego County. Last year, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office filed human trafficking-related charges against 43 defendants in cases that involved 50 victims, nine of whom were under the age of 18. San Diego has been identified as one of the FBI’s High-Intensity Child Prostitution Areas.
— City News Service
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