California Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D-Santa Clarita) passed the human trafficking bill AB 629 out of the State Assembly this week.
The Legislative Women’s Caucus priority legislation is designed to help victims of human trafficking rebuild their lives.
“Victims of human trafficking experience unimaginable trauma and violence,” Smith said. “In order to restore justice, we must ensure trafficking survivors have the resources and tools to build a better future. AB 629 speaks to a victim’s ability to recover and returns dignity to survivors of human trafficking.”
California’s Victim Compensation Program provides assistance to victims who have suffered physical injury or the threat of physical injury as a result of violent crime, including covering unforeseen expenses such as medical bills, mental health treatment, funeral and burial expenses, and income loss.
Under current law, victims of human trafficking are excluded from receiving compensation for lost wages. AB 629 will ensure that human trafficking victims will be eligible for compensation for lost or underpaid wages, like any other victim of crime.
Smith worked with co-sponsors Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking and Bet Tzedek Legal Services, and joint author, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), to move the human trafficking bill, which received bipartisan and unanimous support from the Assembly.
AB 629 now heads to the California State Senate.
Smith represents California’s 38th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Santa Clarita, Simi Valley, Agua Dulce, Castaic, Santa Susana Knolls and North San Fernando Valley.