Will CA Legislature Pass SB 14 to Make Sex Trafficking a Felony Once Again?

Sen. Grove’s bill will make ‘non-serious’ sex trafficking children a felony and a strike

A bill to make sex trafficking a felony once again in California was blocked in the Assembly Public Safety Committee by Democrats in July, after passing unanimously in the Senate. Eventually and two days later, the committee was pressured by the public and lawmakers to reconsider their vote, and passed SB 14.

What should have been an easy vote for the safety and security of children should not have taken public outrage for passage. When and how did California’s Democrat lawmakers become so indifferent and callous to the people?

As Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) said in July in an op ed, “the grim reality is that California is one of the largest sites of human trafficking in the United States.”

As the Globe reported in July, Currently human trafficking is defined as a “non-serious” crime which means the act of human trafficking cannot be considered a strike under California’s Three Strikes law.

While most people do not encounter the sex trafficking industry, the horrific stories of survivors are out there for anyone willing to listen. “Trafficking victims must meet daily sex or labor quotas before they’re permitted to sleep, eat or rest. In many instances, traffickers will brand their victims with facial or body tattoos to signify their ownership over the victim and the victim’s status as mere property,” Grove said.

The California Attorney General explains the magnitude of sex trafficking:

Human trafficking is among the world’s fastest growing criminal enterprises and is estimated to be a $150 billion-a-year global industry. It is a form of modern day slavery that profits from the exploitation of our most vulnerable populations. One common misperception is that human trafficking requires movement across borders. In reality, it involves controlling a person or group through force, fraud, or coercion to exploit the victims for forced labor, sexual exploitation, or both. This can occur entirely within a single country or it can cross borders.

The International Labor Organization estimates that there are more than 24.9 million human trafficking victims worldwide at any time. This includes 16 million victims of labor exploitation, 4.8 million victims of sexual exploitation, and 4.1 million victims of state imposed forced labor. The victims of human trafficking are often young girls and women. Young girls and women are 57.6% of forced labor victims and 99.4% of sex trafficking victims.

In the past, the U.S. Department of State has estimated that 14,500 to 17,500 victims are trafficked into the United States each year.

Six proposed bills in 2018-19 would have corrected unclear language and serious flaws in Proposition 57, passed in 2016 by voters, which reclassified many serious heinous crimes as “non-serious.” The initiative specified early parole for persons who committed non-violent offenses. However, the initiative never specified what is considered a non-violent felony.

But all 6 bills were killed by Democrats. Ironically, most of the bills were killed in Assembly or Senate Public Safety committees, just as SB 14 was.

Human trafficking involving a minor, assault with a deadly weapon, solicitation of murder, rape under various specified circumstances, grand theft of a firearm, elder and dependent adult abuse, were considered “non-violent” crimes under Prop. 57.

Senate Bill 14 by Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) was voted down in the Assembly Public Safety Committee with 6 Democrats abstaining and 2 Republicans voting “aye”… that means Democrats wouldn’t even commit to a “no” vote lest it look bad during reelection time.

SB 14 will included sex trafficking of minors in the lists of crimes that are defined as serious under California law, making the crime a strike under the Three Strikes law, and would help strengthen protections for the millions of victims of sex trafficking.

As of today, Senator Grove says she has 64 co-authors which is more than half of the California State Legislature, including 46 Assembly members and 9 members of the Assembly Appropriations Committee who have signed on as co-authors. She has done a monumental job winning supporters and co-authors of SB 14,, and it’s taken a lot of heavy lifting.

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

Blocked Child Sex Trafficking Bill Puts Key California Committee Under Fire

A day after rejecting a bill that would have classified child sex trafficking as a serious felony under California law, the Assembly Public Safety Committee is facing intense scrutiny from Democratic state leaders, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, who are vowing to address the issue.

The bill, written by Republican State Sen. Shannon Grove, attempts to keep repeat offenders behind bars longer and make them ineligible to be released from prison early. The bill, which Grove has worked on for three years, passed unanimously through the Democratic-controlled State Senate earlier this year.

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle were shocked Tuesday when the bill didn’t have enough votes to clear the Assembly Public Safety Committee, with all six of that committee’s Democrats abstaining from the vote.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said he called Grove to talk about the measure, “which is indicative of my desire to see what we can do,” Newsom told reporters Wednesday morning. “It’s an area I care deeply about, I have since my time as mayor, as a supervisor working with then District Attorney Kamala Harris. I appreciate Shannon Grove’s efforts on this and wanted to make sure she knew that today and we’ll be following up and will have more to say shortly.”

The governor noted last year’s state budget earmarked $25 million for services for children who had been victims of sex trafficking. “I want to understand exactly what happened yesterday,” Newsom said. “I take it very seriously.”

Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas fielded numerous questions on the issue at a luncheon in Sacramento Wednesday afternoon.

When asked if the committee made the right decision, Rivas responded, “It’s a serious problem.”

“It’s very clear, the processes in the Assembly, they need more transparency and cohesion,” Rivas said. “We are very much engaged, and we have been since last night. It’s something that we are addressing, and something we are going to get right.”

Rivas stepped into the leadership position 12 days ago following a contentious power struggle in the Assembly between him and former Speaker Anthony Rendon. Rivas is currently weighing who will lead which powerful committees.

KCRA 3 asked Rivas if the Assembly’s Public Safety Committee Chairman, Reggie Jones-Sawyer would remain in that leadership position after this legislative session. Jones-Sawyer has already faced political pressure this year after refusing to hear a set of fentanyl-related public safety bills this spring.

“I’ll have more to share about that as we get closer,” Rivas said. “If I’m going to make changes, I’ll have discussions with my colleagues first, I don’t want to surprise anybody. The foundation of my leadership is trust and respect, and that’s never going to change. You’ll know when the time is right.”

Jones-Sawyer has not responded to a request for comment on Newsom and Rivas’ statements. He said in a statement Tuesday night that the bill would have made no new corrective actions of enhancements to laws already in place.

“Ultimately, members of the Assembly’s Public Safety Committee understood the author’s intent but recognized this bill needs considerable work and granted reconsideration,” Jones-Sawyer said.

Grove’s office confirmed she met with Jones-Sawyer late Wednesday afternoon. She told reporters after the meeting that she wants the Assembly to suspend the rules for her bill to bypass the committee to be voted on by the full house.

Click here to read to read the full article here