Californians Against Sexual Exploitation Act (“CASE Act”) to Strengthen California Laws to Fight Human Trafficking and Sexual Abuse

Malibu, Calif. – October 13, 2012— California Against Slavery and the Safer California Foundation announced today a 2012 ballot initiative, the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation Act (“CASE Act”), to make California safer for children and adults by strengthening our laws against human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

The partnership will formally be announced on October 15th at a celebratory event and fundraiser in Malibu hosted by actress Stephanie Romanov-Wechsler and producer Nick Wechsler. Event co-hosts include “Law & Order” actress Elisabeth Rohm, producers Donald Luciano, Keri Selig and Keith Addis, actor Griffin Dunne, international fashion stylist Anna Bingemann and former Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly and his wife Jennifer Carrico. The event will be attended by Hollywood celebrities, producers, law enforcement representatives, and business leaders. Speakers include Daphne Phung, founder of California Against Slavery, and child sex trafficking survivor and attorney, Carissa Phelps.

Slated for the November 2012 Statewide General Ballot, the CASE Act will strengthen penalties against human trafficking and improve Megan’s Law against online predators. The initiative is already supported by law enforcement associations throughout California and numerous state and national advocacy groups. Many more endorsers are expected in the coming months.

California Against Slavery is a non-partisan, grassroots group formed by Californians dedicated to ending human trafficking starting where they live. Human trafficking is a criminal business that profits from enslaving people for forced labor and sexual servitude. The Safer California Foundation is dedicated to supporting efforts to protect Californians from all forms of criminal exploitation. It was created by Chris Kelly, a Silicon Valley attorney and philanthropist who formerly oversaw online privacy, safety, and security efforts as Chief Privacy Officer of Facebook.

A United States Department of Justice study estimates that upwards of 300,000 American children are at risk of commercial sexual exploitation. Most are recruited into the sex trade at the age of 12 to 14 years old, and some are trafficked as young as four years old.[1] The anonymity afforded by many Internet sites has fueled the rapid growth of sex trafficking, making the enticement and trade of women and children easier and less risky than ever before.

“Human trafficking is the most severe and under-recognized form of human exploitation in the United States today. It is our moral obligation to protect the most vulnerable in society, particularly our children, from human trafficking and other forms of exploitation,” said Daphne Phung, executive director and founder of California Against Slavery.

“The Internet has changed the way we live, mostly for the better, but it has given criminals new means to prey on their victims. It became clear to me while working at Facebook that, to build a safer online infrastructure, we need better and enforceable laws to deter online predators,” said Kelly, founder of the Safer California Foundation. The CASE Act includes the pioneering work Kelly did with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York’s e-STOP Act, which has been responsible for the removal of over 25,000 convicted sex offenders from online sites.

“I was shocked when I found out that human trafficking is happening here in California. As parents we often fear for our children’s safety. This could happen to any of us. Can you just imagine finding out that your child had been snatched off the street, at a shopping center, from a movie theater?” said Romanov-Wechsler. “This initiative will give our community an opportunity to take action and help stop this horrific crime. We need to put more fear into the minds of the predators that are looking to take our kids. Why predators can get off with such a minor jail term is mind blowing, but together we can change that.”

This groundbreaking initiative will deter traffickers with stiffer criminal penalties and fines—which will enhance victim services, aid district attorneys in prosecuting human trafficking offenses, mandate human trafficking training for law enforcement officers, make sex traffickers registered sex offenders and require sex offenders to disclose Internet accounts.

“This initiative will give law enforcement the tools we need to prevent this horrible crime and save lives. When approved by California voters, this initiative puts the first nail in the coffin of human trafficking for our state and the rest of the nation,” said Brian Marvel, president of the San Diego Police Officers Association.

About California Against Slavery:

California Against Slavery (CAS) is a non-partisan human rights organization dedicated to ending human trafficking, starting where we live. Our mission is to defend the freedom of every child, woman and man by empowering the people of California to fulfill our obligation to stop human trafficking. For more information, please visit http://www.CaliforniaAgainstSlavery.org

About Safer California Foundation:

The Safer California Foundation is dedicated to supporting efforts to protect Californians from all forms of criminal exploitation. Created by Chris Kelly, former Facebook Chief Privacy Officer and a Silicon Valley attorney and philanthropist, the Safer California Foundation looks forward to the day when every neighborhood in California is as safe as our most secure neighborhoods today.

Contact

Daphne Phung, Executive Director and Founder of California Against Slavery
info@californiaagainstslavery.org
or (510) 473-7283

California Against Slavery
P.O. Box 7057, Fremont, CA 94537

References:
[1] The National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: America’s Prostituted Children, Shared Hope International, May 2009. Presented to the Congressional Hearing on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking, September 2010.

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