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State of California November 6, 2012 Election
Proposition 35
Human Trafficking. Penalties
State of California

Initiative Statute - Majority Approval Required

Pass: 9,935,574 / 81.4% Yes votes ...... 2,277,560 / 18.6% No votes

See Also: Index of all Propositions

Results as of Dec 3 10:07pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (24491/24491)
Information shown below: Summary | Fiscal Impact | Yes/No Meaning | Official Information | Arguments |

Should the definition of human trafficking be expanded, penalties for traffickers be increased, convicted sexual traffickers be required to register as sex offenders, and additional training for law enforcement officers be required?

Summary Prepared by the State Attorney General:

  • Increases criminal penalties for human trafficking, including prison sentences up to 15-years-to-life and fines up to $1,500,000.
  • Fines collected to be used for victim services and law enforcement.
  • Requires person convicted of trafficking to register as sex offender.
  • Requires sex offenders to provide information regarding Internet access and identities they use in online activities.
  • Prohibits evidence that victim engaged in sexual conduct from being used against victim in court proceedings.
  • Requires human trafficking training for police officers.

Fiscal Impact from the Legislative Analyst's Office:

  • Increased costs, not likely to exceed a couple million dollars annually, to state and local governments for criminal justice activities related to the prosecution and incarceration of human trafficking offenders.
  • Potential one-time local government costs of up to a few million dollars on a statewide basis, and lesser additional costs incurred each year, due to new mandatory human trafficking-related training requirements for law enforcement officers.
  • Potential additional revenue from new criminal fines, likely a few million dollars annually, which would fund services for human trafficking victims and for law enforcement activities related to human trafficking.

Meaning of Voting Yes/No
A YES vote on this measure means:
Longer prison sentences and larger fines for committing human trafficking crimes.

A NO vote on this measure means:
Existing criminal penalties for human trafficking would stay in effect.

Official Sources of Information
Arguments Submitted to the Secretary of State

Summary of Arguments FOR Proposition 35:
YES on 35--STOP HUMAN TRAFFICKING. PREVENT THE SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN. Traffickers force women and children to sell their bodies on the streets and online. Prop. 35 fights back, with tougher sentencing, help for victims, protections for children online. Trafficking survivors; children's and victims' advocates urge: YES on 35.

Summary of Arguments AGAINST Proposition 35:
Proposition 35 actually threatens many innocent people "My son, who served our country in the military and now attends college, could be labeled a human trafficker and have to register as a sex offender if I support him with money I earn providing erotic services."--Maxine Doogan; Please Vote No.
Contact FOR Proposition 35:
Kristine Kil; Vote Yes on 35
P.O. Box 7057
Fremont, CA 94537
(510) 473-7283

Contact AGAINST Proposition 35:
Maxine Doogan; Erotic Service Providers Legal, Education, and Research Project, Inc.
2261 Market Street #548
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 265-3302

  Official Information

Secretary of State

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Arguments For Proposition 35 Arguments Against Proposition 35


In California, vulnerable women and children are held against their will and forced into prostitution for the financial gain of human traffickers. Many victims are girls as young as 12.

Human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing criminal enterprises in the world, and it’s happening right here on California’s streets and online where young girls are bought and sold.

A national study recently gave California an “F” grade on its laws dealing with child sex trafficking.

That’s why we need Proposition 35.

Yes on 35 will:

  • Increase prison terms for human traffickers, to hold these criminals accountable.
  • Require convicted human traffickers to register as sex offenders, to prevent future crimes.
  • Require all registered sex offenders to disclose their Internet accounts, to stop the exploitation of children online.
  • Increase fines from convicted human traffickers and use these funds to pay for victims’ services, so survivors can repair their lives.

Prop. 35 protects children from sexual exploitation.

Many sex trafficking victims are vulnerable children. They are afraid for their lives and abused—sexually, physically, and mentally. The FBI recognizes three cities in California—Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego—as high intensity child sex trafficking areas. That’s why we need Prop. 35 to protect children from exploitation.

Prop. 35 holds human traffickers accountable for their horrendous crimes.

“Sex traffickers prey on the most vulnerable in our society. They get rich and throw their victims away. Prop. 35 will hold these criminals accountable. By passing 35, Californians will make a statement that we will not tolerate the sexual abuse of our children and that we stand with the victims of these horrible crimes.”

—Nancy O’Malley, Alameda County District Attorney and national victims’ rights advocate

Prop. 35 helps stop exploitation of children that starts online.

The Internet provides traffickers with access to vulnerable children. Prop. 35 requires convicted sex offenders to provide information to authorities about their Internet presence, which will help protect our children and prevent human trafficking.

California’s largest law enforcement groups urge YES on 35.

“As those on the front lines in the fight against human trafficking, we strongly urge YES on 35 to help us prosecute sex traffickers and protect victims of sexual exploitation.”

—Ron Cottingham, President, Peace Officers Research Association of California, representing 64,000 public safety members

Crime victims and their advocates urge YES on 35.

“Prop. 35 will protect children from human traffickers who profit from selling them on the street and online.”

—Marc Klaas, crime victims’ advocate and father of Polly Klaas, who was kidnapped and killed in 1993

“At 14, I ran away from a troubled home and into the clutches of a human trafficker. For years, I was trafficked and abused when I was still just a child. As a survivor of trafficking, I’m asking Californians to stand against sexual exploitation and vote Yes on 35.”

—Leah Albright-Byrd, Human Trafficking Survivor


YES on 35.

Human Trafficking Survivor
MARC KLAAS, President
KlaasKids Foundation
SCOTT R. SEAMAN, President
California Police Chiefs Association

Rebuttal to Arguments For

This measure allegedly aimed at human trafficking actually threatens many innocent people:

If Proposition 35 passes, anyone receiving financial support from normal, consensual prostitution among adults—including a sex worker’s children, parents, spouse, domestic partner, roommate, landlord, or others—could be prosecuted as a human trafficker, and if convicted, forced to register as a sex offender for life!

“My son, who served our country in the U.S. military and now attends college, could be labeled a human trafficker and have to register as a sex offender if I support him with money I earn providing erotic services.”—Maxine Doogan

Rather than working with sex worker communities to stop real human traffickers, far-left anti-sex feminists and far-right religious conservatives who back Proposition 35 hope voters who hear “trafficking” will be deceived into supporting their futile crusade against the “world’s oldest profession” by further criminalizing people connected with consensual adult prostitution. Proponents’ argument that California is a “high intensity area” for trafficking is suspiciously similar to debunked claims made elsewhere:

Proposition 35 would create a new unfunded liability for our state, just when California’s government is in fiscal crisis and numerous cities have already filed for bankruptcy. A wealthy executive supplied over 90% of Proposition 35’s campaign donations—
—but his money won’t be there to fund enforcement. Traffickers footing the bill is wishful thinking—forfeiture hasn’t paid for the “War on Drugs”, and will never adequately fund a “War on Prostitution” either.

Vote NO on Proposition 35!

Erotic Service Providers Legal,
Education, and Research Project, Inc.


Proposition 35 falls short of its promise, and voters ought to send it back to the drawing board.

Criminalization does not bring protection.

If passed, California will be writing another blank check to the proponents of Proposition 35. This short-sighted ballot measure relies on a broad definition of pimping. This includes: parents, children, roommates, domestic partners, and landlords of prostitutes to be labeled as sex offenders. The real goal is to gain access to asset forfeiture to benefit the endorsing law enforcement agencies and non-profits. Proposition 35 has no oversight or accountability. This will open the door to corrupt practices we’ve seen before in drug enforcement.

If passed, Proposition 35 will have a detrimental effect on the state budget. This statute relies on resources that criminalize adults who are arrested for prostitution indiscriminately in prostitution stings performed under the guise of rescuing children.

Research shows that most teens arrested for prostitution do not have pimps; thus the idea that this statute will pay for itself is not supported by the evidence. Lost Boys: New research demolishes the stereotype

Proposition 35 relies on failed polices that use criminalization as a means to arrest the under-aged all the while calling it “rescue”.

UN Advisory group member, Cheryl Overs on Tackling Child Commercial Sexual Exploitation Don’t expand these already failed polices.

If passed, the state will likely be required to defend this statute in court as it will likely face legal challenges due to several questionable and possibly unconstitutional provisions including the following: possibly unconstitutionally vague definition of “human trafficking” including the “intent to distribute obscene matter”, possibly unconstitutionally “cruel and unusual” punishments including excessive prison terms and fines, possibly unconstitutionally inhibiting a defendant’s right to introduce evidence in defense trials.

This Act will cost the state additional unspecified amounts: It would increase the workload to already over-burdened probation departments. Consider that case of Jaycee Dugard and the $20,000,000 that California had to pay her for not protecting her against a violent sexual predator. It would require training of police officers to enforce the expanded provisions of the Act.

This misguided Proposition uses fact-less fear mongering to goad voters into gambling on future fines and fees that risk redirecting scarce state resources away from existing social services intervention programs.
Laws are being enforced.

The policy underlying Proposition 35 was created outside the affected populations. The Proponents stand to benefit financially by getting their salaries paid “to deliver services” to consensually working sex workers. Sex workers do not want to be forced out of work via criminal laws and forced into receiving services from the proponents. Sex workers demand a voice.

Let’s be clear. Criminalization of prostitution is the condition that allows exploitation. Let us instead address that issue.

Vote No on these failed policies.

Vote No on Proposition 35.

Erotic Service Providers Legal,
Education, and Research Project, Inc.

Erotic Service Providers Legal,
Education, and Research Project, Inc.

Rebuttal to Arguments Against

“I was only 10 when I was first exploited by a trafficker. I suffered years of abuse, while the trafficker profited. Please stand up for women and children who are being trafficked on the streets and online. Vote Yes on 35 to stop human trafficking.”
—Withelma Ortiz, Human Trafficking Survivor

YES on 35 will FIGHT BACK AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING and sexual exploitation of women and children.

A recent study gave California an “F” grade for its weak child sex trafficking laws. The FBI has designated San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego as high-intensity child sex trafficking areas.

The average age when a girl is first trafficked is 12 to 14. These children should be thinking about their homework, not how to survive another night being sold.

Prop. 35 will protect children in California by increasing penalties against human traffickers, making convicted traffickers register as sex offenders, and requiring all registered sex offenders to provide information to the authorities about their Internet presence, in order to help prevent human trafficking online.

Prop. 35 helps victims put their lives back together by increasing fines against human traffickers and dedicating these funds for victims’ services.


  • Children’s and victims’ advocates, such as KlaasKids Foundation and Crime Victims United
  • California law enforcement organizations representing more than 80,000 rank and file law enforcement officers
  • Survivors of human trafficking


Human Trafficking Survivor
Human Trafficking Survivor
Alameda County District Attorney

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Created: December 17, 2012 13:48 PST
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