ALAMEDA (CBS/KCBS) — A bill before the California legislature would change how sex traffickers could be prosecuted for crimes involving children.

Supporters are saying it would help protect children from being exploited for profit.

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The bill’s author, East Bay Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, said that California’s current law is unreasonable and that he’s been working with prosecutors who say the wording is too vague.

Right now the law against child sex trafficking requires that force, fraud or coercion be demonstrated to prove a case.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

“There’s a lot of other evidence that can be entered that can help prove the child has been a victim of human trafficking,” said Swanson.

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That evidence includes mental coercion and verbal threats that Swanson said traffickers use to keep children under control.

The assembly member introduced a bill this week to expand the law’s language.
It says standard of proof includes cases where a defendant caused, induced, encouraged or persuaded the victim.

“We’re trying to make sure that we show zero tolerance by making sure our laws are not ambiguous and that we can prosecute those that are using children for this modern-day form of slavery,” Swanson added.

Swanson says the changes would bring California more in line with federal child sex-trafficking laws.

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