But critics, including some who work to protect victims of forced prostitution, say the measure is too vague and that defense attorneys could argue with its definition of human trafficking, tying cases up in courts and ultimately hurting victims. Some also say the proposition could intrude on privacy rights.
Supporters point to cases where those convicted of sexual exploitation crimes got off with light sentences.
For example, in a case just last month in Los Angeles, Brian Smith of L.A. and Lashanay Cohill of Indio were convicted of pimping and pandering, assault and human trafficking of a minor.
The two victims -- girls under 18 from South Los Angeles and Mojave -- were kidnapped, transported to someone else's home, then forced into prostitution.
If the girls refused to have sex with strangers, one of the kidnappers used a device made of wire hangers he called the "Green Monster" to beat them until they submitted.
One of the victims refused to testify.
Cohill, a woman in her 20s whose defense attorney said also was coerced by Smith, received a year of probation. Smith, meanwhile, received 12 years.
If Prop. 35 -- the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation Act -- passes, someone like Smith could receive 15 years to life, proponents say.
"By making this a severe crime, we can deter opportunists," said Daphne Phung, founder of California Against Slavery and co-author of Prop. 35.
Phung said she created the proposition after seeing a documentary last year on human trafficking.
Prop. 35 increases prison terms for human traffickers, requires convicted sex traffickers to register as sex offenders, makes them disclose their Internet accounts and demands that they pay for services to help organizations that serve victims.
Phung said the cost to taxpayers might be a few million dollars each year.
"The higher the fines that are collected, the more will all go toward helping victims," Phung said. "These girls are not criminals."
Chris Kelly, a 2010 candidate for California attorney general and former chief privacy officer for Facebook, helped draft Proposition 35 and has contributedmore than $2 million to fund the effort, according to Voter's Edge, which tracks contributions.
Those opposed to Prop. 35 vary about why the law would be ineffective and even unconstitutional. A federal law already prosecutes human traffickers. Proposition 35 would align with the federal law, but some argue the definition of "trafficking" could be broadened and misused.
The American Civil Liberties Union has an issue with perpetrators being required to disclose all Internet accounts, saying it infringes on free speech.
"The measure requires that registrants provide online screen names and information about their Internet service providers to law enforcement -- even if their convictions are very old and have nothing to do with the Internet or children," according to an ACLU statement.
"This provision essentially eliminates the ability of registrants to engage in anonymous online speech and imposes a substantial burden whenever a registrant wants to use a new online platform to speech, infringing on registrants' First Amendment right to free speech."
The nonprofit Exotic Service Providers Legal Education and Research Project -- which provides legal advice to those in various erotic industries, including prostitution and pornography and works to protect sexual privacy -- opposes the measure as well, saying: "If implemented, it will prove harmful to the victims of trafficking rather than helping them. Moreover, it expands the definition of trafficking to ensnare innocent people."
An organization that works with victims of child prostitution also opposes the measure, saying it will be ineffective.
Dr. Lois Lee, founder of Children of the Night, a Van Nuys-based organization that helps child prostitutes and led legislators into creating mandatory sentencing laws that guaranteed harsher penalties for pimps, said the bill leaves out one important factor: Pimps tend to hide their assets pretty well.
California law allows victims of prostitution to sue their pimps, Lee said.
"In California, there is a civil code that allows the victim of prostitution to sue her pimp," Lee said.
"A few years ago, we looked for assets for pimps that were arrested," Lee said. "We could not find pimps with assets in their names. We brought in the IRS and Treasury Department and they found the money in the mother's name."
She called Prop. 35 do-gooder legislation that may do more harm than expected.
"The state law is good enough," Lee said. "Proposition 35 looks good on the surface, but anyone supporting this proposition does not understand and does not work with children of sex trafficking."
Proposition 35YES means: Longer prison sentences and larger fines for committing human trafficking crimes.
NO means: Existing criminal penalties for human trafficking would stay in effect.