Reconsidering California’s Human Trafficking Law

One specific provision of Proposition 35 requires all registered sex offenders to give police a comprehensive list of their screen names, email addresses, account names and Internet service providers within 24 hours of setting up a new account. Violations of this law are punishable by up to three years. According to the challengers, the requirements of the law are overly broad and infringe on their right to participate in anonymous online free speech. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson noted that California failed to show that its interest in fighting sex offenses and human trafficking outweighed the convicted sex offenders’ privacy interests. Specifically, California did not supply evidence regarding the extent to which public safety would improve if the additional Internet-based registration requirements were in place.
Despite the lower court’s ruling, Attorney General Kamala Harris has appealed on behalf of the state. She has aims to crack down on human trafficking, asserting that the Internet has “transformed the landscape of human trafficking.” Nevertheless, those who oppose the scheme note it would have a negative effect on California’s budget.

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