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Name: In re Aarica S.
Case #: B248010
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 02/21/2014
Summary

Evidence Code section 1161, subdivision (a) did not apply where minor was not a victim of human trafficking in relation to the act of prostitution underlying the wardship petition. Aarica S. appealed from an order of wardship under Welfare and Institutions Code section 602 following a finding that she solicited an act of prostitution. She contended that because she was a victim of human trafficking, the juvenile court erred when it denied her motion under Evidence Code section 1161, subdivision (a) to exclude evidence that she committed a commercial sex act. Held: Affirmed. Section 1161, subdivision (a) provides that evidence that a victim of human trafficking has engaged in any commercial sexual act as a result of being a victim of human trafficking is inadmissible to prove the victim’s criminal liability for the act. Here, the court held that section 1161, subdivision (a) applies only when there is a specific causal connection between the person’s status as a victim of human trafficking and the commission of the commercial sex act at issue. Since the juvenile court found that Aarica was not a victim of human trafficking in relation to the act of prostitution at issue here, section 1161 did not apply. Although Aarica testified that she had a series of pimps and had been forced into prostitution, she also testified that on the date of her arrest, she did not have a pimp and was living with her grandmother. She committed the act of prostitution at issue because she needed money. The evidence supports the juvenile court’s conclusion and therefore the court did not err when it denied her motion to exclude the evidence.