New CA bill would hold hotels responsible for traffic

35th District Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham introduced a new bill in the California State Assembly that advances the fight against human trafficking, he announced Friday.

Assembly Bill 1788 would allow city and district attorneys to penalize hotel or motel owners if supervisors knew, or should have known, that victims were being trafficked on site and did not contact law enforcement.

The bill provides for graduated penalties for repeat offences: up to $1,000 for the first occurrence, $3,000 for the second, $5,000 for a third and up to $10,000 for a fourth.

“Human trafficking is the fastest growing crime in the United States, and it occurs in seedy hotels and motels in every region of California,” said Cunningham, a former county prosecutor from San Luis Obispo, in a statement. “AB 1788 would give local prosecutors and city prosecutors another tool to fight trafficking and rescue victims.”

Since being elected in 2016, Cunningham has drafted four anti-human trafficking bills that have been signed into law.

Assemblymen Suezette Martinez Valladares of Santa Clarita and Tom Lackey of Palmdale contributed to the bill. Valladares is co-author and Lackey is co-author.