Human Trafficking Initiative Backed by Former Facebook Exec Qualifies for November Ballot

Chris Kelly, Vice-President and Chief Privacy Officer of the social networking giant Facebook, at a conference in 2007. (Photo: GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

Backed by the former chief of privacy at Facebook, a voter initiative to increase penalties for human trafficking has become the sixth to qualify for the November election.

Chris Kelly, who served from 2005 to 2010 as chief privacy officer during the social media titan's meteoric rise, is listed as one of the proponents of the measure and has already contributed more than $1.6 million to the campaign, according to campaign finance records. That sum constitutes the bulk of the money raised during the signature-gathering portion of the campaign.

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Kelly ran unsuccessfully for California attorney general in 2010. He told The New Yorker that he spent more than $9 million of his own money in the attempt.

Daphne Phung, the other proponent of the measure, worked in finance and accounting before deciding to volunteer full-time as the head of California Against Slavery, according to that organization's website. She began thinking about the initiative after seeing an MSNBC report about human trafficking and sex slaves in America.

The new measure would introduce stiffer criminal penalties for human trafficking, including prison sentences up to 15-years-to-life and fines up to $1.5 million. The money would be used for victim services and law enforcement training.

The measure would also require anyone convicted of human trafficking to register as a sex offender and would prohibit victims' sexual conduct from being used against them in court.

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen certified the initiative on Wednesday. Barring any problems uncovered during the signature validation process, voters will see the new measure on the ballot on November 6.

About the Author

Web Editor for SoCal Connected, KCET's award-winning television newsmagazine. He has worked in just about every medium, with stories appearing on TV, radio, Web, and print. He is also the editor of the Online Journalism Review at ...
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