Politics ESSENTIAL POLITICS

This is Essential Politics, our daily look at California political and government news. Here's what we're watching right now:

Be sure to follow us on Twitter for more, or subscribe to our free daily newsletter and the California Politics Podcast.

California politics

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla wants to issue confidential mailing addresses to human trafficking survivors

LAPD Lt. Marc Evans issues a Human Trafficking Task Force alert to the media in August 2016 in Van Nuys. New legislation would help protect victims of human trafficking in California. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
LAPD Lt. Marc Evans issues a Human Trafficking Task Force alert to the media in August 2016 in Van Nuys. New legislation would help protect victims of human trafficking in California. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

A California secretary of state's program that provides free post office boxes to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking could also soon begin serving survivors of human trafficking.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla and state Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino) on Thursday introduced legislation that extends benefits under the Safe at Home initiative to former victims of forced sex work or labor. 

The confidential address program, launched in 1999, provides a free post office box and mail forwarding service to participants, allowing them to privately receive mail, open bank accounts, register to vote and fill out government forms.

Padilla said he wanted to expand the program to ensure it served victims swept into a quickly growing criminal industry in California. 

"It is a very difficult situation if you can't communicate confidentially with the people who are trying to help," he said.

Safe at Home has served roughly 7,000 people and currently has nearly 3,200 participants. Padilla and Leyva said they did not know how many more people the bill could potentially cover. 

But trade of forced sex and labor has wide reach in California, where national human trafficking hotline calls generated 1,323 cases in 2016 — nearly twice as many as any other state. 

The legislation "would try to help victims move on with their life and hopefully live in peace," Leyva said.

Latest updates

Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
57°