Brian Marvel, President, San Diego Police Officers Association
This November, Californians will be voting on Proposition 35, an initiative that’s key in the fight against human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of women and children.
Prop 35 has my strong support and the endorsement of 95,000 rank and file California Peace Officers in California, including the San Diego Police Officers Association. I urge you to join me in supporting this important initiative.
To many people, it may be shocking that the human trafficking of women and children is happening in our community here in San Diego. But those of us in law enforcement know all too well the tragic reality of this problem. Human trafficking of women and children is taking place both on our streets and online, where young girls are bought and sold.
From my years of experience as a police officer I see the strong need for Prop 35, which will help us address these crimes in several important ways. This initiative will increase prison terms for human traffickers, require convicted sex traffickers to register as sex offenders, require all registered sex offenders to disclose their internet accounts, and impose fines on convicted traffickers to fund victims’ services.
I’ll share with you the moving words of Leah Albright-Byrd, a survivor of human trafficking who is helping to raise awareness about Prop 35.
At an event earlier this spring, she talked about her experiences saying, “At age 14 I ran away from my home. I thought I was on the path to a better life, but instead I ran right into the arms of a human trafficker. For years, I was physically, sexually, and emotionally abused – all when I was still just a child.”
That’s an all too familiar story for those of us who work in law enforcement. We see the tragedy of women and children who are trafficked and sold for profit here in San Diego. Girls – often as young as 12 years old – are held against their will and forced to sell their bodies. They are afraid for their lives and abused – sexually, physically, and mentally.
The reality that we’re dealing with is that San Diego is one of three cities in California recognized by the FBI as a high intensity child sex trafficking area. In addition, a recent national study by a victims' rights group gave California an "F" grade for its weak laws dealing with child sex trafficking.
With Prop 35, we’ll have a stronger line of defense against human traffickers. Those convicted of these crimes will face longer prison sentences. Fines imposed on traffickers will go towards funding vital services for victims, giving them a second chance at life.
For those of us on the front lines of law enforcement, Prop 35 is a huge leap forward in the fight against the human trafficking of women and children.
That’s why I’m urging you to join me today by visiting VoteYesOn35.com and voting YES on Prop 35 this November.