SACRAMENTO – Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D-Santa Clarita) and joint-author Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) moved forward AB 629 to help human trafficking victims rebuild their lives. The bill is cosponsored by the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) and Bet Tzedek Legal Services.
Assembly Bill 629 would make human trafficking victims eligible to receive compensation from the California Victim Compensation Board for income lost while being forced into labor or services comparable to modern-day slavery.
“We must demonstrate our commitment to victim’s recovery by ensuring fair and equal access to compensation for loss of income,” said Assemblywoman Smith. “Human trafficking victims bear the scars of their trauma for a lifetime. These resources are an important tool in supporting a better future for them.”
Last year, AB 900 (Gonzalez, 2018) the predecessor legislation to AB 629, passed with unanimous support of both the Assembly and Senate. Unfortunately, it was vetoed by the Governor because of the stated “over-committed funding source” of the crime victim’s fund. Both the federal and state crime victim funds are currently operating with a surplus.
“The nightmare these victims face does not end when they are rescued. This measure will make sure the thousands of Californians who were enslaved by human traffickers can get the resources and support they need to become strong, independent members of our community.”Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego)