IN 1993, my daughter Polly Klaas was kidnapped and murdered. No words can truly express the pain that her loss brought to me. For a parent, the death of a child is a tragedy that has no equal.
Since that time, I have dedicated myself to stopping crimes against children and founded the KlaasKids Foundation for the purposes of preventing the exploitation of kids with every tool we can find.
One of the greatest threats to our children in California is human trafficking, and that's why I support Proposition 35 on the November ballot in California.
Human trafficking is one of the largest criminal enterprises in the world, and it's taking place in our own backyard as well. Three areas in California —San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego — are designated by the FBI to be among the highest child sex trafficking areas in the nation.
A national study by a victims' rights group gave California an "F" grade for its weak laws dealing with child sex trafficking.
In the Bay Area alone, MISSSEY, a service provider organization for victims of human trafficking, has served 1,000 commercially sexually exploited minors since 2007.
Children — many as young as 12 — are being sold for sex, both on the streets and online.
This is not a problem that just happens outside the United States; the grim reality is that our children are the victims of these horrendous crimes.
kids are largely born in the United States, raised here and then trafficked here for huge profits. Law enforcement tells us that gangs are moving away from selling drugs and more often selling young girls — because they can sell these children over and over again.
That's not a reality I'm prepared to accept. We can and must take action against these horrible crimes.
Proposition 35 is a well-written initiative that takes specific steps to make our kids safer and fight back against human traffickers who exploit vulnerable children.
First, Proposition 35 increases prison terms for human traffickers by raising our state laws to meet federal standards. Prosecutors tell us that they need these harsher penalties, and survivors of human trafficking tell that they and many other vulnerable girls will be safer when these criminals are off the streets.
Second, the initiative requires convicted sex traffickers to register as sex offenders — a punishment that's fitting for the crime of selling a child for sex and one that will make families safer throughout our state.
And finally, Proposition 35 will update Megan's Law by requiring all registered sex offenders to disclose their Internet accounts to the authorities.
The reality that parents face these days is that their children are online constantly and we need to take steps to make sure they are safe.
This policy has already been implemented in New York, successfully removing 25,000 registered sex offenders from social media sites.
We can and must do that for California's children as well.
What Proposition 35 does is commonsense, practical and much-needed — and that's why it has my endorsement, and support from a broad coalition of survivors of human trafficking, service providers that advocate for victims, prosecutors, organizations representing 95,000 California Peace Officers, as well as faith and community leaders.
I urge you to vote "yes" on Proposition 35. Together, we can take stand against human trafficking and sexual exploitation of children in our state.