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Human Trafficking Penalties

This measure would increase prison sentences and fines for human trafficking. A person convicted of human trafficking would be required to register as a sex offender. Registered sex offenders would be required to disclose Internet activities and identities.

Official Election Results:

Yes: 10,078,476 [81.3%]
No: 2,310,612 [18.7%]


Pro / Con


Proponents of Prop. 35 believe that California's laws on human trafficking and child sex trafficking are seriously limited and flawed. They claim that the measure will protect children from sexual exploitation and will hold human traffickers accountable for their crimes. They point to the support from law enforcement groups and child advocates as indication of the measure's importance.


Vote Yes on Prop. 35 [Website archived in Internet Archive]


Opponents of the measure believe that Prop. 35 too broadly defines pimping and that it is vague in its definition of human trafficking. They say the vagueness of the proposition will leave the door open to corruption and exploitation. Opponents are concerned about the costs to probation departments to hire adequate staff and to police departments for training and instituting the provisions of the measure. They claim that the issue of human trafficking and prostitution is related to larger issues and that the measure will only criminalize a social problem.


Erotic Service Provider Legal, Educational and Research Project [Website archived in Internet Archive]



Currently, both federal and state law prohibit human trafficking. The Federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act defines human trafficking as the recruitment and transport of persons by use of force, fraud, or in which the victim is under the age of 18 to perform a commercial sex act or perform labor and other services. California state law defines human trafficking as violating the liberty of another person with the intent to commit felony crimes or obtain forced labor or services. State law punishes human trafficking offenders with prison sentences up to five years or, if the victim is under 18, with a sentence of up to six years. Offenders who are convicted of human trafficking involving sex are required to register as sex offenders with their local police or sheriff's departments. photo: Lozano, Toni -Wikipedia

Proposition 35 would change state stalking law in several ways:

  • The definition of human trafficking would be expanded. Crimes involving the creation and distribution of childhood pornography would now be considered a form of human trafficking.
  • The penalties for human trafficking would be made more severe. A maximum of 12 years would be the maximum for labor trafficking crimes and 20 years would be the maximum penalty for human trafficking crimes.
  • Sex trafficking of minors which involves fraud or force would become punishable by life in prison.
  • Offenders convicted of human trafficking who have previous convictions for trafficking will receive an additional five years on their prison terms for each prior conviction.
  • Offenders who are convicted of trafficking that resulted in great bodily injury to the victim could receive an additional ten years on their sentence.
  • Criminal courts would be permitted to impose fines of up to $1.5 million for human trafficking crimes.
  • Funds collected from fines on human trafficking pay for services for trafficking victims. 70 percent of funds would be allocated to public agencies and non-profit organizations that provide support services to victims. The remaining 30 percent would be allocated to law enforcement agencies for prevention, witness protection, and rescue operations.
  • Evidence that a person was involved in sex crimes can not be used against them if it is determined that the person committed the crime due to being a victim of human trafficking.
  • The evidence of sexual conduct by a victim of human trafficking could not be use to attack their credibility or character in court.

Voter Resources

Voter Resources

Official CA Documents

Official Voter Information Guide

Campaign Finance Information

Cal-Access Check out how much money is being raised and spent to pass or defeat this measure, and where the money is coming from.

Cal-Access Ballot Measure Summary Data Search Select "General 06 November 2012" and "Proposition 035" from the drop-down menus. Cal-Access provides financial information supplied by state candidates, donors, lobbyists, and others.

Nonpartisan Analyses


California Initiative Review - Pacific McGeorge Capital Center for Public Law and Policy.

Maplight: Voter's Edge

League of Women Voters: Pros and Cons







News and Opinion
Updated: 1 sec ago

Is One of the Most-Cited Statistics About Sex Work Wrong?

Fri, 2014-09-05 09:28
"I can't really remember a time when I didn't see it used, so I think it's been in circulation for quite a while," says Audacia Ray, of the Red Umbrella Project in New York. ...