SACRAMENTO – Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law AB 2040 (Swanson), a California State PTA-supported bill which helps sexually exploited minors make a fresh start.
PTA supported the measure as part of the association’s focus on supporting the needs of vulnerable children and implementing the “Child Trafficking in California” resolution approved by convention delegates in 2010.
AB 2040 makes it easier for a minor with a prostitution offense to have those records sealed. Under the old law, once a person turned 18, he or she could petition a court to have juvenile records sealed if he or she was not subsequently convicted of a felony or misdemeanor and could establish rehabilitation.
According to the bill’s author, Assembly member Sandré R. Swanson (Senate District 16 – Oakland), these conditions are unreasonable in cases of victims of human trafficking charged with prostitution offenses. “It doesn’t make sense to require a person who was forced into prostitution as a minor to demonstrate rehabilitation in order to clean up his or her records,” he said.
According to Swanson, “Between 100,000 and 300,000 children — some as young as five years old — are prostituted in the United States every year. (This law) makes it a little easier for these former victims to clean up their records once they turn 18, increasing their ability to integrate back into society and a safe environment.”
“AB 2040 is an important bill for children and minors who are victims of human trafficking,” said California State PTA Vice President of Community Concerns Kathy Rabun. “It gives them a chance to seal their records and move forward in their lives without making them jump through hoops. We commend Assembly member Swanson for introducing this measure and the governor for signing it.”
The California State PTA has nearly one million members throughout the state working on behalf of public schools, children and families, with the motto, “every child, one voice.” The PTA is the national’s oldest, largest and highest profile volunteer association working to improve the education, health and welfare of all children and youth. The PTA also advocates at national, state and local levels for education and family issues. The PTA is nonprofit, nonsectarian and noncommercial. For more information: www.capta.org.