AB 262: How can I support survivors of human trafficking

 

AB 262 is now in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. This is where a lot of great bills meet their demise. We don’t want AB 262 to be one of them.

We need as many letters of support as possible sent to the Chairwoman, Lorena Gonzalez. This committee will decide if the bill moves to the Assembly Floor for a vote.

Simply email approps.committee@assembly.ca.gov. The subject should be "SUPPORT AB 262". 

There are two ways to help:

1. PUT THE SAMPLE SUPPORT LETTER ON YOUR LETTERHEAD

2. COPY & PASTE TEXT INTO EMAIL – FEEL FREE TO ADD PERSONAL COMMENTS TO THE VERBIAGE BELOW.

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“California has one of the highest rates for human trafficking within the United States. Once removed from trafficking, victims desire a fresh start on life and seek out secure housing, employment, counseling and involvement within their community. Unfortunately, many victims possess criminal records related to their victimhood which can hinder this desire on numerous levels.

AB 262 will prevent a court from refusing to hear a human trafficking victim’s petition to clear their record due to fines owed and/or probation requirements not met. Current law provides that a victim of human trafficking may petition the court for vacatur relief of nonviolent offenses including, but not limited to, prostitution, but they first must pay all fines and meet all probation requirements before petitioning the court to clear their record.  In some counties, the court chooses to waive this requirement while others do not—it is up to the discretion of the judge and their interpretation of code.  This barrier stops victims from addressing one of the most vital issues preventing them from starting a new life: clearing their record.  

Additionally, AB 262 will clarify code to state that a victim can petition the court for vacatur relief at any point in time once removed from trafficking, even 20 years down the road.  This bill will also allow a victim of human trafficking to appear at all court hearings via counsel. Many victims have multiple offenses in multiple counties requiring travel to locations where they were either trafficked or lived while in trafficking, making the petitioning process lengthy, time-consuming, costly, and even traumatic.

“AB 262 will clarify how and when a victim of human trafficking may petition for vacatur relief, and ease the process along the way. Clearing one’s record of crimes they committed directly as a result of their victimhood is the first step towards a new life, and one that cannot be understated for victims trying to leave their traumatic past behind.”