On July 7, 2016, Assembly Bill No. 1684 (“AB1684”), introduced in support California’s anti- human trafficking laws, passed both the Senate and the House of Representatives and was ordered enrolled.
Originally introduced earlier this year by Assembly Member Mark Stone, AB1684 amends the current law to expressly allow the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) to receive, investigate, conciliate, mediate, prosecute and bring civil actions for and on behalf of victims of human trafficking against the perpetrator.
AB1684 allows any damages in a civil action brought by the DFEH to be awarded directly to the victim. Specifically, in a civil suit brought by the DFEH, a successful plaintiff may be awarded the following:
- Exemplary damages (punitive damages) to be awarded by the jury or court;
- A civil penalty of $25,000 to be awarded to the individual human trafficking victim; and
- Attorney’s fees and costs as may be determined by the court, which will be awarded to the DFEH for bringing the claim.
The bill will now be delivered to the Governor to sign into law.