|Sheriff John McMahon and Assistant District Attorney Gary Roth accept CSAC Award for Campaign to End Human Trafficking|
Eighteen counties in California are being recognized this year with Challenge and Merit Awards.
The annual Challenge Awards program was created by CSAC in the mid-1990s. Since that time, it has grown in popularity.
The award-winning programs are just a sampling of the creativity and leadership demonstrated each day by our counties. More than entries were evaluated this year by an independent panel of judges closely affiliated with California counties and the programs and services they deliver.
The campaign strengthens the County’s zero-tolerance policy on Human Trafficking by creating a vertical prosecution unit and countywide task force and promoting awareness.
Human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation have been a hidden plague on our county, state, and nation for many years. In 2013 it became clear that the District Attorney’s Office needed to focus efforts on more effectively investigating and criminally prosecuting these ruthless exploiters. With the passage of Prop 35, which increased the penalty for human trafficking from an average of 6 years in prison to 15 years-life, the District Attorney had every intention of fully implementing the new law while holding those who were driving the demand for sexual exploitation accountable.
On January 18, 2013, the District Attorney’s Office announced several directives to strengthen its zero-tolerance policy on Human Trafficking at the premiere of a 45-minute documentary aimed at generating awareness about the sexual exploitation of minors:
- Creation of Human Trafficking Vertical Prosecution Unit within the Office of the District Attorney comprised of 1 Deputy District Attorney, 1 Investigator, and 1 Victim Advocate.
- Formation of a countywide Human Trafficking Joint Investigative Task Force with the Sheriff’s Department that consists of a Senior DA Investigator and a Sheriff’s Deputy.
- Implementation the “Stop-the-John” Project in which the District Attorney’s Office releases and posts online the names and photographs of defendants convicted of solicitation.
- Outreach with community members using the 45-minute documentary.