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

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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

Comments

  1. “…Senator Grove… has done a monumental job winning supporters and co-authors of SB 14,, and it’s taken a lot of heavy lifting.” Should have made me very happy but broke my heart that Senator Grove had to work so hard to get supporters of her bill; what a commentary on how much we need people of principle to replace those hard core people in Sacramento.

  2. I’m associated with two rural organizations that jumped right on to Assemblyman Tom Lackey’s request to write letters in support of Senator Grove’s bill. They represent a lot of citizens in whose opinion it was a no-brainer.

    Why does it take so much effort to get the California Legislature to vote for an obvious benefit for their constituents? I can’t answer that question. Many of their constituents are out-of-state voters and the cemetery vote, so I can’t ask what they think.

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