California Proposition 35, Ban on Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery (2012)
|Referred by:||Petition signatures|
- 1 Election results
- 2 Text of measure
- 3 Support
- 4 Opposition
- 5 Editorial opinion
- 6 Polling information
- 7 Path to the ballot
- 8 Lawsuits
- 9 External links
- 10 References
- Increases prison terms for human traffickers.
- Requires convicted sex traffickers to register as sex offenders.
- Requires criminal fines from convicted human traffickers to pay for services to help victims.
- Mandates law enforcement training on human trafficking.
- Requires all registered sex offenders to disclose their internet accounts.
The day after the election, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order on the provision that requires sex offenders to disclose their internet accounts to law enforcement. The judge acted in response to a class action lawsuit filed against the provision by the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation on behalf of two anonymous sex offenders to whom the provision applies. This injunction was extended on January 11, 2013 and applies only to the provision that requires convicted sex offenders to provide internet identifiers. All other Proposition 35 provisions remain in effect. Proponents of Proposition 35 are preparing to appeal the injunction.
- See also: 2012 ballot measure election results
|California Proposition 35|
- These final, certified, results are from the California Secretary of State.
Text of measure
Note: The original title given to Proposition 35 by election officials during the petition circulation stage was, "Human Trafficking. Penalties. Sex Offender Registration. Initiative Statute."
The state's official voter guide included two summaries for each statewide ballot measure. One summary, in bullet-point format, appeared in the long-form description of each measure. A shorter form of the summary appeared on the ballot label in the front of the voter guide, where there was a short description of each measure.
The long-form summary for Proposition 35 said:
The short-form (ballot label) summary for Proposition 35 said:
| "Increases prison sentences and fines for human trafficking convictions. Requires convicted human traffickers to register as sex offenders.
Requires registered sex offenders to disclose Internet activities and identities."
Neither of the two summaries in the final voter guide was identical to the summary that was originally given to Proposition 35, when its sponsors sought a summary prior to circulating petitions to qualify the measure for the ballot. The summary that was given by election officials to Proposition 35 at that time said:
|"Increases criminal penalties for human trafficking, including prison sentences up to 15-years-to-life and fines up to $1,500,000. Fines collected to be used for victim services and law enforcement. Requires person convicted of trafficking to register as sex offender. Requires sex offenders to provide information regarding Internet access and identities they use in online activities. Prohibits evidence that victim engaged in sexual conduct from being used against victim in court proceedings. Requires human trafficking training for police officers."|
(This is a summary of the initiative's estimated "fiscal impact on state and local government" prepared by the California Legislative Analyst's Office and the Director of Finance.)
Note: The original fiscal note given to Proposition 35 by election officials during the petition circulation stage was, "Potential one-time local government costs of up to a few million dollars on a statewide basis, and lesser additional costs incurred each year, due to the new mandatory training requirements for certain law enforcement officers. Minor increase to state and local governments on the costs of incarcerating and supervising human trafficking offenders. Unknown amount of additional revenue from new criminal fees, likely not to exceed the low millions of dollars annually, which would fund services for human trafficking victims."
Chris Kelly, a 2010 candidate for Attorney General of California, helped draft Proposition 35. Kelly, the former chief of privacy at Facebook, also contributed over $2.3 million to the campaign in favor of Proposition 35.
The arguments in favor of Proposition 35 in the state's official voter guide were submitted by:
- Leah Albright-Byrd, Withelma Ortiz, and Carissa Phelps. Albright-Byrd, Ortiz and Phelps are survivors of human trafficking.
- Marc Klaas. Klaas is the president of the KlaasKids Foundation.
- Scott R. Seaman. Seaman is the president of the California Police Chiefs Association.
- Nancy O'Malley. O'Malley is the District Attorney of Alameda County.
Endorsers of Proposition 35 included:
- Senator Barbara Boxer, Senator Dianne Feinstein, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, Congresswoman Jackie Speier, activists John Walsh, Marc Klaas, and Jada Pinkett Smith.
- Planned Parenthood, NOW, the California Labor Federation, Crime Victims United of California, Peace Officers Research Association of California, the California Fraternal Order of Police, the National Latino Peace Officers Association (State of California), the California Association of Highway Patrolmen, the California Police Chiefs Association, California Nurses Association, California Catholic Conference, Church State Council, and organizations helping survivors like MISSSEY, Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition, GenerateHope, Mary Magdalene Project, and Shared Hope International.
- The California Democratic Party
- The California Republican Party.
Arguments in favor
The arguments presented in favor of Proposition 35 in the state's official voter guide included:
- "In California, vulnerable women and children are held against their will and forced into prostitution for the financial gain of human traffickers. Many victims are girls as young as 12. Human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing criminal enterprises in the world, and it’s happening right here on California’s streets and online where young girls are bought and sold."
- "A national study recently gave California an 'F' grade on its laws dealing with child sex trafficking."
- "Prop. 35 protects children from sexual exploitation. Many sex trafficking victims are vulnerable children. They are afraid for their lives and abused—sexually, physically, and mentally. The FBI recognizes three cities in California—Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego—as high intensity child sex trafficking areas. That’s why we need Prop. 35 to protect children from exploitation."
- "Prop. 35 holds human traffickers accountable for their horrendous crimes."
- "Prop. 35 helps stop exploitation of children that starts online. The Internet provides traffickers with access to vulnerable children. Prop. 35 requires convicted sex offenders to provide information to authorities about their Internet presence, which will help protect our children and prevent human trafficking."
- Leah Albright-Boyd is quoted in the voter guide saying, "At 14, I ran away from a troubled home and into the clutches of a human trafficker. For years, I was trafficked and abused when I was still just a child. As a survivor of trafficking, I’m asking Californians to stand against sexual exploitation and vote Yes on 35."
| Total campaign cash |
as of November 3, 2012
The "Yes on 35" campaign raised about $3.7 million as of November 3. The donors listed in the chart below are the $10,000 and over donors to the "Yes on 35" campaign as of Saturday, November 3, 2012. Note that some of these donors gave their money to a committee that was simultaneously supporting or opposing more than one of the ballot propositions on the November 6, 2012 ballot. When that is the case, it is not generally possible to break down how much of that donor's money specifically was spent on the campaign for a particular proposition. Those contributions are listed below with shading; readers should not assume that all or even most of a donation to a multi-purpose committee was used for expenditures related to this particular proposition.
|California Statewide Law Enforcement Association||$498,064|
|Police Officers Research Association||$162,459|
|California State Council of Service Employees (SEIU)||$75,000|
|National Education Association||$60,025|
|California Teachers Association||$50,000|
|United Food and Commercial Workers||$50,000|
|Working Families Issues Committee (AFL-CIO)||$30,000|
|Crowley Children's Fund||$21,500|
|Ronald C. Conway||$10,000|
The arguments against Proposition 35 in the state's official voter guide were submitted by:
- Maxine Doogan. Doogan is the president of the Exotic Service Providers Legal Education and Research Project.
- Manual Jiminez. Jiminez is the Chief Financial Officer of the Exotic Service Providers Legal Education and Research Project.
- Norma Jean Almodovar. Almodovar is an author and a former police officer who has worked in the sex trade.
Other opponents included:
- Cindy Liou, a staff attorney at Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, located in the Bay Area. Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach works with trafficking victims.
- Perla Flores, a program manager at Community Solutions in Morgan Hills.
- Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club http://www.milkclub.org/2012-election/official-november-2012-endorsements.html
- California Council of Churches-Oppose Prop 35 http://churchimpact.org/2012/08/29/proposition-35-human-trafficking-penalties-sex-offender-registration-initiative-statute-oppose
- San Francisco Rising
- Bernal Heights Democratic Club
- California Association for Criminal Justice
- Peace and Freedom Party
The arguments in opposition to Proposition 35 presented in the state's official voter guide included:
- "This short-sighted ballot measure relies on a broad definition of pimping."
- "The real goal is to gain access to asset forfeiture to benefit the endorsing law enforcement agencies and non-profits."
- "Proposition 35 will have a detrimental effect on the state budget.
- "Criminalization of prostitution is the condition that allows exploitation."
- "If Proposition 35 passes, anyone receiving financial support from normal, consensual prostitution among adults...could be prosecuted as a human trafficker, and if convicted, forced to register as a sex offender for life!"
Other arguments made against Proposition 35 included:
- "It incorrectly presumes that increased prosecution and protections of trafficking survivors is entirely premised on increased penalties and fines rather than a comprehensive approach," according to attorney Cindy Liou. Liou works with trafficking victims.
- "The work of human trafficking, it's not just all up to the prosecutors. It's also everybody else who has been at the table for years, developing a system that's collaborative and victim-centered," according to Perla Flores, who works with trafficking victims.
No campaign committees registered in opposition to Proposition 35.
"Yes on 35"
- The Contra Costa Times: "The proposition would expand some of the definitions of human trafficking in California laws and would increase the fines and penalties for engaging in such illegal conduct, and it severely increases those penalties for repeat offenders."
- The Daily Democrat (Woodland, California): "While it could make the job of police harder, we support any effort to keep people from being treated as slaves."
- The Long Beach Press-Telegram: "A 2011 study by Shared Hope International and American Center for Law and Justice gave California an 'F' for its laws protecting women and children from exploitation. Prop. 35 would make up for that failing grade in a big way -- by enacting some of the most severe penalties nationally for human traffickers."
- The Los Angeles Daily News: "The FBI reports that three cities in California -- Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco -- are among the nation's 13 highest child sex trafficking areas. Yet the Legislative Analyst's Office found only 18 convicted human traffickers in state prison when it crafted its independent analysis of Prop. 35. Clearly, there's a disconnect between the number of victims and the prosecution of their abusers."
- The Marin Independent Journal: "While a proposition is not the best way to write and vet criminal law, a similar law in New York has increased public and police awareness about the problem."
- The North County Times: "These increased punishments are appropriate ---- and, given the ongoing reports of human trafficking here in California, sadly necessary."
- The Orange County Register: "Nonetheless, in light of some of our concerns regarding Prop. 35, this Editorial Board recommends a Yes vote – albeit with some reservations." 
- The Redding Record Searchlight: "Proposition 35 will help protect the exploited and punish latter-day slavers."
- The San Bernardino Sun: "There's no disputing California and its cities face huge budgetary uncertainties, but it would be callous and wrong to say such minimal costs are not worth incurring to protect some of the most vulnerable living among us."
- The San Diego Union-Tribune: "Like most citizen initiatives, Proposition 35 is not perfect. The language of some provisions is imprecise, sometimes out of sync with federal law or otherwise problematic. That’s why a legislative solution would have been better. But that was not to be. And the reality is that Proposition 35 was endorsed by the state Democratic and Republican parties and dozens of statewide and local law enforcement agencies, including the San Diego and Chula Vista police officer associations and the local Deputy Sheriffs’ Association."
- The San Francisco Chronicle: "Under the measure, human traffickers could receive up to 12 years (instead of the current maximum five) - with the potential penalty rising to 15 years to life if the crime involves a minor. Those tougher sentences would match federal law and would give prosecutors a greater incentive to pursue trafficking cases against adults who exploit children in prostitution."
- The San Gabriel Valley Tribune: "Proposition 35 on the Nov. 6 ballot ensures that those who trade on human lives pay a high price with tough new sentencing guidelines and dramatic increases to fines."
- The Vallejo Times-Herald: "Critics...worry that the new definition of human traffickers is so vague that it could include people caught distributing child pornography, even if they had no personal contact with the young victims. We'd prefer the language were tighter, but the possibility that some aggressive prosecutors will overreach and throw the book at some child porn distributor -- well, that's a risk we're somehow willing to take."
"No on 35"
- The Bay Area Reporter: "This proposition is an abuse of the initiative process. The proposition makes no provision for funding, which will certainly be in the tens of millions of dollars annually. It also contains numerous provisions that seriously invade privacy and would have lifelong effects on those caught in its web. We are sensitive to the issue, because it wasn't that long ago that gay men were arrested and forced to register as sex offenders for offenses as minor as public urination. Under this proposition, they would lose all personal privacy for life. It is bad policy."
- The Fresno Bee: "Human trafficking is a despicable crime. But Proposition 35 on the Nov. 6 ballot is not the right approach to the problem."
- The Lompoc Record: "Prop. 35 thus zeroes in on some of mankind’s most loathsome predators. That’s the feel-good part. The not-so-feel-good aspect is that this get-tougher-on-crime trend will further burden the state’s prison system, therefore California taxpayers, while doing very little to stem the tide of human trafficking."
- The Los Angeles Times: "If reducing sex trafficking and forced labor were as simple as adopting a ballot measure that promised to deal with those predatory practices, there would be every reason to vote for the popular Proposition 35. But the initiative system doesn't work that way. Voters must ask more than whether they would like to see those cruelties come to an end. They must be satisfied that the particular, far-reaching and inflexible penalties and procedures that would be enacted by this measure would help; that they are the best approach to solving an actual problem; and that actual progress would dwarf any unintended consequences. Proposition 35 fails those tests."
- The Merced Sun-Star: "Sex trafficking is a repugnant crime that needs to be prevented and punished. State lawmakers have a responsibility to beef up the laws against it and keep them current. We recommend a 'no' vote on Proposition 35 while standing firmly against any form of human trafficking."
- The Modesto Bee:"It's difficult to oppose Proposition 35, a measure that purports to stop a crime as despicable as human trafficking. But the proposition is overbroad and misdirected."
- The Press-Enterprise: "Human trafficking is a heinous crime, certainly, but the rigid prescriptions of a ballot measure are a poor way to address a complex issue. Voters should reject Prop. 35, in favor of more flexible and comprehensive approaches."
- Sacramento Bee: "It's difficult to oppose Proposition 35, a measure that purports to stop a crime as despicable as human trafficking. But the proposition is overbroad and misdirected."
- The San Francisco Bay Guardian: "Prop. 35 is a parade of horribles that could be used to make someone who peed in public turn over his Internet information and to threaten friends and relatives of sex workers. Under this law, the adult child of a sex worker who was living in her house with her financial support could be tagged a trafficker — and could face a long prison term and a lifetime of being tagged as a sex offender."
- The Santa Cruz Sentinel: "Curiously, Prop. 35 fails to deal with one of the major difficulties in prosecuting trafficking cases -- the reluctance of victims to come forward because of their immigration status or fear of retaliation from criminal gangs. Instead, the measure seems to take for granted that imposing longer sentences and bigger fines will persuade victims to testify. That's a dubious assumption."
- The Ventura County Star: "Another problem is Proposition 35's overreaching language. We foresee that courts will find it unconstitutionally limits an accused person's right to assert his or her innocence. Also, individuals could face severe penalties for very limited, indirect involvement with artistic or other creative works that later are found to have used minors illegally."
- See also: Polls, 2012 ballot measures
|Date of Poll||Pollster||In favor||Opposed||Undecided||Number polled|
|October 7-10, 2012||California Business Roundtable||77.8%||13.6%||8.6%||830|
|October 21-28, 2012||California Business Roundtable||76.5%||13.7%||9.8%||2,115|
Path to the ballot
- See also: California signature requirements
- Daphne Phung submitted a letter requesting a ballot title on October 26, 2011.
- The ballot title and ballot summary were issued by the Attorney General of California's office on December 23, 2011.
- 504,760 valid signatures were required for qualification purposes.
- The 150-day circulation deadline for #11-0059 was May 21, 2012.
- On April 10, 2012, the California Secretary of State announced that signatures had been submitted.
- On May 9, 2012, the California Secretary of State announced that the initiative had qualified for the November 6, 2012 ballot.
Cost of signature collection:
The cost of collecting the signatures to qualify Proposition 35 for the ballot came to $1,437,523.
The signature vendor was Progressive Campaigns (PCI).
- See also: List of ballot measure lawsuits in 2012
Supporters of Proposition 35 filed a lawsuit in Sacramento Superior Court on August 3, 2012. The lawsuit was successful. The purpose of the lawsuit was to force the California Secretary of State, in the Spanish-language version of the state's official voter guide, to replace the term "tráfico humano" with "trata de personas."
Immediately following the election, the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court, asking that the court to stop from going into effect the provision which required convicted sex offenders to provide internet identifiers to law enforcement. They based the lawsuit on the grounds that the provision violated the United States Constitution.
The day after the election, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order that prevented the internet identifier provision from going into effect, and the temporary injunction was extended on January 11, 2013 The injunction applied only to the provision that requires convicted sex offenders to provide their internet identifiers to law enforcement. All other Proposition 35 provisions remained in effect.
The general thrust of the lawsuit was that the provision restricted the free speech and free association rights of registered sex offenders, particularly online. Two anonymous sex offenders were the plaintiffs in the "Joe Doe" lawsuit. One of them said in the suit that, because of the proposition, he would no longer be allowed to participate in online political discussions. The ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation helped with the lawsuit because they believe that, when a registered sex offender is unable to participate in online political discussions without revealing his status as a registered sex offender, this amounts to an unconstitutional burden on the free speech and association rights of the sex offender.
- Complete November 6, 2012 official voter guide
- Ballot title, summary and LAO analysis of Proposition 35
- Arguments for and against Proposition 35 in the official state voter guide
- Letter requesting a ballot title for Initiative 11-0059
- Living Voters Guide to Proposition 35
- Proposition 35, an overview prepared by the League of Women Voters of California
- Proposition 35 on Voter's Edge
- Proposition 35 Cheatsheet from KCET
- Proposition 35 on California Choices (sponsored by Next 10, IGS at UC Berkeley, the UC San Diego Political Science Department, the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford, and the Center for CA Studies at Sac State)
- Proposition 35 at the California Voter Foundation
- "Vote Yes on 35", website of supporters
- "Yes on 35" on Facebook
- "Yes on 35" on Twitter
- Campaign finance reports of "Californians Against Sexual Exploitation
- Campaign finance reports of "Safer California Foundation"
- Erotic Service Provider Legal, Educational and Research Project
- THE CALIFORNIA Law- Turning all consensual sex acts into “human trafficking
- No On Prop 35-Victims advocates and Cops Speak out
- Disputing the lies of Prop 35: "legislators have not done anything for victims." Here is a list of 4 laws regarding sex, money and the minors passed in 2011 by one California Assembly lawmaker
- KCET, "Human Trafficking Initiative Backed by Former Facebook Exec Qualifies for November Ballot", May 10, 2012
- Slate, "Blocking California’s New Sex-Offender Law", November 15, 2012
- The Tribune, "Judge continues to block part of Calif. initiative", January 11, 2013
- News 10, "Brown's tax hike finishes signature gathering", May 3, 2012
- Vote YES on 35, "Stop Human Trafficking In California: Endorsements
- Vote YES on 35, "Stop Human Trafficking In California: Endorsements
- Walnut Patch, "Democratic Party Picks State Ballot Measures to Support", July 30, 2012
- Walnut Creek Patch, "California Republicans Oppose Proposed Tax Measures", August 12, 2012
- California Secretary of State, "Arguments Against Proposition 35"
- Wikipedia Profile of Norma Jean Almodovar
- California Secretary of State, "Rebuttal to arguments in favor of Proposition 35"
- Inside Bay Area, "Victims advocates oppose Proposition 35 human trafficking measure", September 21, 2012
- San Francisco Rising, November 6, 2012 endorsements
- California Association for Criminal Justice
- Peace and Freedom Party, 2012
- California Public Safety Informational Hearing for both Assembly and Senate, August 14, 2012
- Contra Costa Times, "Summary of our endorsements on state propositions", September 22, 2012
- Daily Democrat, "Democrat endorsements: Propositions", October 14, 2012
- Long Beach Press Telegram, "Endorsement: Yes on Prop. 35 -- Fight human trafficking in California with tougher penalties", October 11, 2012
- Los Angeles Daily News, "Endorsement: Yes on Prop. 35 -- Fight human trafficking in California with tougher penalties", October 11, 2012
- Marin Independent Journal, "Editorial: IJ's endorsements for state Propositions 34-37", October 12, 2012
- North County Times, "Yes on 35", September 19, 2012
- Orange County Register, September 25, 2012
- Redding Record Searchlight, "Editorial: Prop. 35: Sound steps to combat human trafficking", September 20, 2012
- San Bernardino Sun, "Yes on Prop. 35: Fight human trafficking in California with tougher penalties", October 11, 2012
- San Diego Union-Tribune, "Yes on Prop. 35: Get tougher on human trafficking", September 18, 2012
- San Francisco Chronicle, "Editorial: Chronicle recommends", October 5, 2012
- San Gabriel Valley Tribune, "Our View: Fight sex crimes: Yes on Prop. 35", October 11, 2012
- San Jose Mercury News, "Summary of our endorsements on state propositions", September 22, 2012
- Vallejo Times-Herald, "'Yes' on 35: A despicable practice that we can stop", October 14, 2012
- Bay Area Reporter, "Editorial: State ballot measures", September 20, 2012
- Fresno Bee, "Although well-intended, Prop. 35 is flawed", October 1, 2012
- Lompoc Record, "Big changes for crime, punishment", October 12, 2012
- Los Angeles Times, "No on Proposition 35", October 10, 2012
- "Our View: Proposition 35 a good idea, but too flawed", October 8, 2012
- Modesto Bee, "'No' on flawed, well-intended Proposition 35", October 2, 2012
- Press-Enterprise, "No on 35", October 1, 2012
- Sacramento Bee, "Endorsements: 'No' on flawed, well-intended Proposition 35", September 24, 2012
- San Francisco Bay Guardian, "Endorsements 2012: State ballot measures", October 3, 2012
- Santa Cruz Sentinel, "Editorial: Prop. 35's dubious propositions", October 10, 2012
- Ventura County Star, "Editorial: Prop. 35, human trafficking law, not good enough", September 5, 2012
- Ventura County Star, "Support plummets for initiative to label genetically engineered foods", October 11, 2012
- In the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Sacramento, "Daphne Phung and Chris Kelly v. Debra Bowen", order issued August 10, 2012
- John Doe v. Kamala Harris