June 17, 2014
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New tool to help law enforcement officers identify, assist trafficking victims now available to agencies statewide

Training video screenshot

A “vital” training tool for officers who encounter trafficking victims arrived at law enforcement agencies throughout California this month, and its developers are excited about equipping those on the “front lines” in the war on human trafficking with the resource.

This new training video, “Human Trafficking: Identify and Respond,”  was developed by the Commission on Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) in response to the 2012 passing of Proposition 35, the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation (CASE) Act. Part of the new law requires peace officers in the State of California to receive at least two hours of training on human trafficking.

“This training video will put vital information in the hands of law enforcement officers who are on the front lines in the fight against trafficking,” said Bob Stresak, Executive Director for POST.

“This training is going to save lives and  help law enforcement remove traffickers from our streets and communities,” said Mike Durant, President of the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC), the largest law enforcement association in the State representing more than 64,000 officers.

The video is divided into 15 to 20 minute segments that can be facilitated during roll call over a period of time. An “Instructor Guide” document (PDF) is included on the DVD for printout from a computer. This provides easy-to-follow steps for group facilitation by the instructors.

POST selected a 16-member committee comprised of district attorneys, local and federal officers, service providers, activists and human trafficking survivors to create this training.  “The committee worked hard to create a video that is relevant to patrol officers”, said Daphne Phung, founder and executive director of California Against Slavery, who is one of several trafficking experts featured in the video. “The range of diversity and expertise in this video is unheard of,” said Phung.

Police Officers are often the first to come into contact with human trafficking victims and can be their lifeline out of a desperate situation. “Police officers must have the ability to understand and recognize victimization,” said Oakland Police Department Sergeant  Holly Joshi, one of the human trafficking experts featured in the training video. “They also need to be able to connect survivors to available services and begin preliminary investigations on offenders.”

POST originally developed training on Human Trafficking in 2006 and updated that training in 2010. This video will not be available online.

About Prop 35

A joint effort of California Against Slavery and the Safer California Foundation, Proposition 35 passed on November 2012 with over 81% approval, making it the most popular initiative in California history. Mandatory training for law enforcement officers is just one of the legislative provisions. It also increases the maximum penalties for human trafficking to 15 years to life and requires sex traffickers to register as sex offenders. Maximum fines for human trafficking offenses have been raised to up to $1.5 million for any human trafficking offense. It provides more protection for victims as well as direct fines to victim services.

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