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Proposition 35: Human Traffickers

Sharmin Bock has helped convict dozens of child sex traffickers.

“In my 23 years as a prosecutor, I have to say, I have never seen a defendant as manipulative and dangerous as a trafficker,” says Bock.

Bock is an assistant district attorney in Alameda County, and co-author of Proposition 35. The initiative would increase prison time for people convicted of forcing others into commercial sex or labor - and could fine them more than a million dollars. She says Prop 35 would crack down on people who exploit children.   

“Risk of apprehension is low, the penalties are low, and the profits are high,” says Bock

Under Prop 35, people who sell obscene images of children could be arrested for human trafficking. The measure would raise more money for law enforcement and victim services. Maxine Doogan is a prostitute. She says the initiative could further criminalize people like her.  

"Traffic victims already have access to services, those crimes are already being prosecuted, and there’s just – you know, this is an unnecessary law that’s going to be greatly abused," says Doogan.

Prop 35 would also require all sex offenders to report their online names and other information to authorities. Francisco Lobaco from the American Civil Liberties Union says that raises free speech concerns. 

 "The Supreme Court has long held that the first amendment protects the right to speak anonymously. And what this initiative would do, it would significantly infringe on the right of folks who have to register as sex offenders," says Lobaco.

But Bock says it’s no longer enough for sex offenders to register their street address. Exploitation happens online, she says, hidden from law enforcement. 

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