Many laws and policies start out as good ideas but lose their impact by the time the language is finally hammered out in the legislative process. For example, California has a program to assist victims of crime to get their lives back together. Passed in 1965, the Victim’s Compensation Fund was the first of its kind in the United States, and it has given millions of dollars to victims of crime to help with medical and mental health expenses, relocation, funeral services, and even lost income as a result of the crimes they suffered.
However, until recently, there was one class of victims who could not recover for their suffering. Because of a quirk in the law, victims of human trafficking crimes could not be reimbursed for their lost income. A new law, AB 629, aims to change that, and help people forced to perform work as sex slaves recover full benefits from the Victim Compensation Fund.
Why Were Trafficking Victims Excluded?
Without knowing the details, it seems strange that people forced into sexual slavery are somehow denied benefits under the Victim Compensation Fund. The barrier to their recovering under the law was this: The work they were forced to do and denied income for, is itself illegal.
However, any crime victims seeking lost income must prove that income with documentation, such as worker’s reports, pay stubs, or a letter from their employer. In a trafficking case, those documents do not exist, and victims certainly cannot go to their former “employer” – the person or persons who held them captive and forced them to work – for that paperwork.
AB 629 changes that by allowing victims to recover according to a simple formula. Compensation for lost income is based on minimum wage for a 40-hour workweek. The victim can recover $10,000 per year for up to two years.
Whether the bill becomes law remains to be seen, as Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the bill when it was first passed in 2017. At the time, Governor Brown cited concerns that the law would change the nature of the compensation system, and could be an unsustainable burden on the fund.
Recently, AB 629 passed the legislature again unanimously and has been sent to Governor Gavin Newsom for his signature. If he does sign it, victims of human trafficking could soon seek some reimbursement for the time they lost as forced sex slaves.
Contact the Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich For More Information
In many cases, persons accused of crimes such as human trafficking and sex-related crimes are themselves victims of false accusations. Those charges can lead to lengthy prison sentences and having to register as a sex offender, which can severely damage a person’s ability to get a job, go to school, or find a place to live.
If you have been charged with human trafficking or a sex-related crime, you do not have to fight the charges alone. You should immediately retain the services of an experienced sex crimes defense attorney. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have more than 35 years of experience in using their skill and legal knowledge to help clients facing charges for sex-related crimes. We use our experience, legal knowledge and skill to build the best possible defense to these charges. Let us help you today.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance, and Victorville, there is an experienced and skilled Wallin & Klarich sex crimes defense attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.
Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free, no-obligation phone consultation. We will be there when you call.