Matthew Lickona 2 p.m., Feb. 19
Vargas gathering support for "Hazel's Law"
The Child Protection Act of 2013, or “Hazel’s Law,” is gaining traction as one of the first bills introduced by Representative Juan Vargas, who in Novenber was elected to fill the seat of Bob Filner, who left the House of Representatives to begin a tumultuous tenure as mayor of San Diego.
The bill, which has so far garnered 41 cosponsors, would eliminate the “knowledge of age requirement” for child sex trafficking cases. It’s tied to a San Diego-based case that faced significant delays while prosecutors worked to prove that an abuser was aware that the subject of the case was a minor.
“Hazel’s Law addresses a very real and pressing human rights issues and its passage is essential if we want to ensure that child sex traffickers are successfully prosecuted,” says Vargas. ““I will continue to fight for justice on behalf of child sex trafficking survivors and I am optimistic that Hazel’s Law will keep receiving strong bipartisan support.”
The law change would remove the requirement that prosecution establish proof that sex traffickers were aware they were forcing children into sexual slavery, a bar often difficult to meet given that victims of the practice are often scared to confront their abusers.