Comcast to pay $26 million for illegally dumping old equipment

Comcast agreed to pay $26 million in December 2015 to settle charges it routinely and illegally dumped used, hazardous electronic equipment into landfills and failed to shredded documents containing customers’ private information. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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How One Bay Area Politician Uses Social Innovation To Fight Human Trafficking

DA O’Malley accepting the San Francisco Collaborative Against Human Trafficking (SFCAHT) Modern-Day Abolitionist Award on January 11, 2018. From left: Antonia Lavine, SFCAHT; DA Nancy O’Malley and Benita Hopkins, SFCAHT

By Jessica Scadron

“We who believe in freedom cannot rest.” – Ella Baker

In January, during Human Trafficking Awareness Month, I had the privilege to talk with one of the foremost abolitionists of our time — Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley. As an expert in the area of human trafficking, she shared her perspective on the successes and challenges of protecting the public against human trafficking and what it takes to prosecute traffickers.

What one thing should people know about human trafficking? 

It is exploitation. It is modern-day slavery. People don’t choose to be slaves. Sometimes people find themselves in those situations out of desperation. If that’s their only option to survive, is it really a choice? When we stop thinking that people are actually choosing this way of life, we’ll make headway in stopping modern slavery.

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DA O’Malley Honored with Prestigious Award from American Bar Association

OAKLAND, CA – The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office is pleased to announce that Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley has been selected by the American Bar Association as a 2016 recipient of the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award. DA O’Malley, who has served as the District Attorney of Alameda County since 2009 and the first woman to hold that position, is now the first District Attorney in the nation to receive this prestigious award from the ABA.

The Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, established by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession in 1991, recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments of women lawyers who have excelled in their field and have paved the way to success for other women lawyers. Honorees receiving the Margaret Brent Award have achieved professional excellence in their field and influenced other woman to pursue legal careers, opened doors for women lawyers in a variety of job settings that historically were closed to them, and/or advanced opportunities for women within a practice area or segment of the profession.

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2015 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award Recipient: Nancy O'Malley

Bringing Justice for Victims of Child Sex Trafficking

Commercial sex trafficking affects thousands of children and young adults in California. Historically, exploited children have been arrested by law enforcement for commercial, sex-related criminal conduct and often prosecuted in juvenile court. Traffickers and those purchasing children for sex are rarely held accountable.

After witnessing a dramatic increase in cases of exploited youth in the City of Oakland, Nancy O’Malley, District Attorney of Alameda County, created a program that shifts law enforcement’s approach to the issue — treating exploited minors as victims rather than criminal offenders.

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Alameda County DA, Catholic Charities to protect sex-trade victims

Photo: Courtesy Of Alameda County DA

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley addresses media at a Tuesday press conference announcing a partnership with Catholic Charities of the East Bay to provide safe homes for victims of child sex trafficking.

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Accounting for the Demand Side of Sexual Exploitation

Much of the advocacy
 and public health response to commercial sex and exploitation is focused on the victims, the majority of whom are female.

But there is another way to address the issue, and that is to reduce demand by intervening with the pursuers of paid sex, a group almost entirely made up of men.

You can have a victim who is sexually exploited without having a trafficker, but you can’t have a victim who’s sexually exploited without a buyer,” said Robyn Levinson, the program coordinator for Alameda County’s H.E.A.T Watch, a five-point program designed to combat human trafficking.

“At the end of the day,” Levinson said, “the individuals who continue to perpetuate sexual exploitation are buyers, and as long as there are buyers, there will be a supply to feed that demand.”

Alameda County is just one of many cities and municipalities across the nation placing an increased emphasis on curbing commercial sex demand. One consistent theme in demand reduction across these communities is the use of male-dominant initiatives to confront potential buyers.

A map of Demand Abolition’s CEASE Network (Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation). Photo: Demand Abolition

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Alameda County Prosecutors Dismiss Thousands of Marijuana Convictions

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley announced today a plan to reduce and dismiss thousands of prior marijuana convictions. 

"We join our state officials and intend to reverse decades of cannabis convictions that can be a barrier for people to gain meaningful employment," O'Malley said in a press statement.

The sweeping ability to clear up people's criminal records was granted after voters passed Proposition 64 last year. Under the new law legalizing adult possession, use, and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana, many previous felony and misdemeanor marijuana crimes are no longer crimes. And many people now have the right to petition a court to reduce or dismiss old convictions and seal their records.

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