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New CA bill would hold hotels, motels accountable for trafficking

Animal Cruelty-Reno Motel
Posted at 2:13 PM, Feb 04, 2022

35th District Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham has introduced a new bill to the California State Assembly that advances the fight against human trafficking, he announced Friday.

Assembly Bill 1788 would allow city and district attorneys to penalize hotel or motel owners if supervisors knew, or should have known, that victims were being trafficked on site and did not contact law enforcement.

The bill includes graduated penalties for repeat occurrences: up to $1,000 for the first occurrence, $3,000 for the second, $5,000 for a third and up to $10,000 for a fourth.

"Human trafficking is the fastest-growing crime in the United States, and it is happening in seedy hotels and motels throughout all parts of California," Cunningham, a former San Luis Obispo County prosecutor, said in a statement. "AB 1788 would give local prosecutors and city attorneys another tool to fight trafficking and save victims."

Since he was elected in 2016, Cunningham has authored four anti-human-trafficking bills that have been signed into law.

Assemblymembers Suezette Martinez Valladares of Santa Clarita and Tom Lackey of Palmdale contributed to the bill. Valladares is a joint author and Lackey is a coauthor.