Competing ideas on how to stop human trafficking prevent steps forward

As reported by the Los Angeles Times:

Before she became district attorney in Alameda County, Nancy O’Malley prosecuted rape cases. She soon came to recognize a number of young women and girls who cycled through the courtroom.

Their stories were always the same, she says. They loved their boyfriends, who coerced them into selling sex to other men.

“That is when we started seeing that there was money attached to sexual exploitation,” she said. A lot of money.

Two decades later, the trade of forced sex and labor now has a name and its own criminal statute — human trafficking. And in recent years, as advocates and prosecutors like O’Malley have worked to push the issue to the political forefront, there has been no shortage of proposed solutions in the state Capitol.

More than 30 bills this legislative session alone have attempted to combat a multibillion-dollar industry that now operates as much online, if not more, as it does on the streets. But much of the legislation, still pending as lawmakers return to Sacramento for their final month of deliberations, varies in its approach to the problem. Critics say the competing proposals present a difficult path forward. …

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