To whom it may concern,
As a mother of a victim of human sex trafficking, I am supporting the California Against Slavery (CAS) inititative. Two years ago my minor daughter was taken and trafficked, up and down Interstate 80 in Northern California. As if this crime in and of itself was not heinous enough, the legal process that followed was almost as bad. Had there been initiatives such as the one that CAS is purposing, our daughter and we her parents, would not have continued to be victimized through out the entire court process. With the current legislation, the defendant (pimp) has all the rights. We had to fight, and I mean FIGHT, for the right to act on our daugther’s behalf. We had to obtain an attorney to represent us as well as our daughter, to get the court to recognize the fact that our daughter was the victim.Â The current legislation does not immediately recognize that these girls are victims. The legislative changes that would occur should the initiative pass, would prevent the court from viewing the girls as anything but the victims they are. In our case, it would have given us a louder voice and more obvious presence in the court room through out the judicial process. This initiative will support stiffer penalties, increase restitution to the victims and make it very clear that these girls are seen as the victims in the eyes of the law. Their rights as victims of this crime, will be appropriately recognized in court. It won’t just be a process that seemingly favors the pimps. This initiative will extend the statute of limitations for filing of a civil suit as well increase sentencing time once these pimps are convicted. Due to the fact that our daughter was cognitively and developmentally delayed our biggest concern was that she would not be able to speak for herself. In the abscence of her testimony, there would be no case…the pimp would go free. We asked continually, ‘what happens if our daughter cannot speak for herself…who will be able to speak for her? Who speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves?’ This initiative answers that question: If the victim cannot speak for themselves, the guardians can. Do you know how much power this will give to these helpless victims and those that act prudently on their behalf? It will put them in a position to champion their case, to be seen in the eyes of the law as the victim they are. And… to see to it the pimps, once sentenced, serve the maximum time they deserve.
Won’t you join me in supporting the hundreds of thousands of victims of this crime and give them the voice they deserve? Won’t you join with me in supporting the Calfironia Against Slavery initiative?
Vicki Zito, the mother of a victim that was trafficked.