Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States and its effects are being seen directly in Orange County. There were 213 victims of human trafficking in Orange County in 2012. 1 Of the 213, 75% were female and 25% were trafficked as minors. 2
Traditionally, human trafficking hotspots in Orange County have included massage parlors, strip clubs and nail salons. In these cases, women from Southeast Asia and Central America have been forced into prostitution while working for seemingly legitimate, law-abiding businesses. 3
In recent years, criminal street gangs have played a role in the increasing human trafficking epidemic in California, drawn by the amount of money that can be made from prostituting women and the low risk of being arrested when compared to violent crimes like drug dealing and weapons possession. Surprisingly, most human sex trafficking victims who are trafficked by criminal street gangs in Orange County are U.S. citizens from nearby counties. 4
Some human sex trafficking victims fall for “Romeo pimps,” who act as if they are the victims’ boyfriends. However, in one recent case in Yorba Linda, 17-year-old Aubreyanna Sade Parks was beaten and stabbed to death by her pimp, a convicted felon who threatened to kill her family if she disobeyed him. 5
Part of the reason why Orange County has become a hotspot for human sex trafficking is because of its location. Orange County is home to a large and diverse population with access to major highways. It is in the center of a network of major sex trafficking areas, with the Bay Area to the north, San Diego to the south and Las Vegas to the east. 6 As a tourist area, Orange County also has a large number of hotels, where many acts of prostitution occur. 7
Consequences of Human Sex Trafficking (PC 236.1)
Under California law, human sex trafficking is defined as forcing, coercing or transporting someone for the purpose of forced commercial sexual exploitation.
Since 2013, new, more aggressive human sex trafficking laws have been in effect in California. This is due to Proposition 35, which was passed in 2012 and effectively doubled the maximum prison sentence for a human trafficking conviction and increased the maximum fine more than tenfold.
Under California Penal Code Section 236.1, a conviction of human trafficking is a felony punishable by up to 12 years in state prison and a fine of up to $1.5 million. If the human trafficking charge involves a minor, a conviction is punishable by up to life in prison. If you are convicted of human trafficking, you will also be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life under PC 290.
Call the Sex Crimes Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or a loved one is facing a human trafficking charge, it is critical that you speak to an experienced sex crimes defense attorney as soon as possible. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience successfully defending persons charged with serious sex offenses. Our attorneys will fight to get you the best possible outcome in your case.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich Southern California criminal defense attorney near you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.
1. [Yorba Linda slaying: Sex-trafficking gangs infiltrate Orange County, Febrary 25, 2014, http://www.ocregister.com/articles/trafficking-600971-county-orange.html]↩
2. [Walkers call attention to modern-day slavery in O.C., August 21, 2013, http://www.ocregister.com/articles/orange-128500-county-trafficking.html]↩
7. [Rescue Mission in Orange County Saves Victims of Sex Trafficking, Febrary 27, 2014, http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/anaheim-orange-county-sex-trafficking-rescue-mission-247438461.html]↩