California has recently seen a sharp increase in reports of prostitution and human trafficking in broad daylight, leaving many of its cities shaken and police officers blaming a new law that has made it difficult to crack down on these crimes.

The new law, Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), passed in September 2019, affects the “gig” economy and makes it harder for business owners to classify workers as independent contractors rather than employees. However, police officers claim that the legislation has also made it easier for human trafficking and prostitution to thrive.

AB5 requires employers to provide additional benefits to workers that they may not have received as independent contractors, while also making it more difficult for employers to fire them. This has made it easier for human trafficking rings to operate, since they are able to make use of the additional protections under AB5 to exploit vulnerable people.

At the same time, the law limits police officers’ ability to conduct sting operations and make arrests for prostitution. Officers are now required to get a warrant for a sting, rather than just showing up at a location and asking questions. This has made it much harder for law enforcement to fight this type of crime.

The cities of San Diego and Long Beach have seen some of the worst effects of this law, with prostitution and human trafficking becoming more visible in broad daylight. In San Diego, police officers have reported more than double the amount of human trafficking cases in 2020 compared to 2019.

Local officials and police officers are now pushing to repeal AB5, so that they can better fight human trafficking and prostitution. They hope that by undoing this law, they can restore their ability to conduct sting operations and reduce prostitution and human trafficking in their communities.

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