A week and a half after California voters passed Proposition 35, beefing up penalties for people convicted of human trafficking, Attorney General Kamala Harris has released a report looking at the prevalence of the problem and what can be done to address it.
The report, titled "The State of Human Trafficking in California 2012," is based on information gathered by a "work group" Harris assembled in January to update a 2007 report on the problem.
The group found that between mid-2010 and mid-2012, nine regional task forces in California initiated more than 2,500 investigations into human trafficking, identified more than 1,200 victims and arrested nearly 1,800 suspects.
A majority of the victims are American, the group found.
"Human trafficking is a growing threat because criminal organizations have determined it is a low-risk, high-reward crime. We are here to change that calculus," Harris was quoted as saying in a news release. "We must counter the ruthlessness of human traffickers with our resolve, innovation and collaboration."
The report includes recommendations, including developing a central clearinghouse for human trafficking statistics in California and increasing training for law enforcement and other first responders and health care professionals.
Some of the recommendations overlap with the changes set to occur after voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 35, which expands the definition of human trafficking under state law, increases penalties for traffickers and requires sex offenders to provide law enforcement officers with their internet-related information.