CA senate expands human trafficking penalties

SACRAMENTO The senate approved a measure allowing courts to seize any property used to facilitate human trafficking and adding civil penalties of up to $25,000. The state assembly passed SB 677 on Monday.

The bill now goes to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who vetoed a similar bill last year, saying its scope was too narrow. The new bill attempts to address that objection by including all types of human trafficking.

A 2004 study by the University of California-Berkeley's Human Rights Center estimated there were nearly 20,000 victims of forced labor in the U.S. between 1998 and 2003. More than 500 of those victims were identified in California.

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