Bill to Help Human Trafficking Victims Obtain T-visa is Signed into Law
SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill (AB) 2027, a bill that will give victims of human trafficking a clearer path to obtaining a T-visa, was signed into law by Governor Brown. “Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons, is a form of modern-day slavery, in which traffickers lure individuals with false promises of employment and a better life,” explained Assemblymember Bill Quirk.
Congress created the T-visa out of recognition that human trafficking victims – sexual and labor – without legal status may otherwise be reluctant to help in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity they were subjected to. Assemblymember Quirk decided to author AB 2027 after chairing an information hearing last year, “Human trafficking: Identifying the Scope of the Problem and Potential Solutions,” in which witnesses testified that labor trafficking victims have not been addressed with the same vigor – this is despite the abuse (both physical and psychological) is equally egregious.
Immigrants can be particularly vulnerable to human trafficking due to a variety of factors, including but not limited to: language barriers, separation from family and friends, lack of understanding of U.S. laws, fear of deportation, and cultural differences.
“I am thrilled that Governor Brown has signed AB 2027. All forms of trafficking, but specifically labor trafficking crimes can be hard to prosecute without the cooperation of the victim. Although the work labor trafficking victims do is legal – home services, agricultural, service jobs, or farm work – what is illegal is the exploitation – stolen wages, no rest or days off, and dangerous working conditions, and that is what prosecutors have difficulty proving. This is an important measure that will help these vulnerable victims,” Assemblymember Quirk stated upon learning his bill was signed.
AB 2027 goes into effect January 1, 2017.
Elected in 2012, Bill Quirk brings his PhD in astrophysics and career as an educator and scientist to the State Assembly. He is the Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on California’s Clean Energy Economy, and a member of the Assembly Committees on Agriculture, Appropriations, Public Safety, Revenue & Taxation, Rules, and Utilities & Commerce.
Website of Assemblymember Quirk: http://www.asmdc.org/quirk