Voz media US Voz.us

California: the law to increase penalties for child trafficking that was rejected by Democrats has been approved

Newsom's intervention was the key to the unanimous approval of the rule.

Niña llorando.


Published by

The California Assembly Public Safety Committee unanimously approved making child trafficking a felony. Finally, the law protecting minors from sexual or labor exploitation will continue to be processed.

Initially, several Democratic lawmakers on the California Assembly Public Safety Committee shot down a bill that would stiffen penalties for child trafficking. The proposal, promoted by Republican Senator Shannon Grove, had been approved unanimously by both parties in the state Senate. The controversy generated provoked the direct intervention of Governor, Gavin Newsom and Speaker Robert Rivas to seek a solution for the law to go forward.

Democrats' "stubborn and misguided objection" to California's sentence increases

Senator Grove could not hide her disappointment after the first vote ended. On Twitter, she harshly criticized the assembly members who overturned the proposal for "their stubborn and misguided objection" to the increase in penalties regardless of the crime.

After passing the Senate with a unanimous, bipartisan vote, I had hoped that Democrats on the Assembly Public Safety Committee, led by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, would agree to make sex trafficking of minors a felony. I am deeply disappointed that the Democrats on the committee were unable to support the bill, with their stubborn and misguided objection to any increase in punishment, regardless of how heinous the crime.

"Serious felony" charges and sentences of 25 years to life

SB14 establishes child trafficking as a "serious felony" and intends that district attorneys prosecute violent sex offenses under laws that provide for sentencing based on a “three strike” policy for habitual sexual offenders instead of negotiating the charges and conviction for those crimes. In addition, it establishes penalties ranging from 25 years to life.

Grove lamented that the main beneficiaries if the bill were not passed were going to be pedophile rings, which were going to take advantage of California's soft legislation to thrive. "Child trafficking is a growing tragedy that disproportionately affects minority girls, and California is a hotbed because of our lenient penalties. The sad reality is that trafficked children on Figueroa Street and throughout California will continue to be raped and victimized until Assembly Democrats take action. Since reconsideration of the bill was granted, I will continue to work with the committee and fight for Californians who are outraged by their decision."

Newsom, visibly annoyed, intervenes

Two main state authorities were outraged: the governor and the speaker of the Assembly. During a press conference the next day, Newsom said that he had spoken earlier in the day with Grove, which "is indicative of my desire to to see what we can do." Visibly annoyed with the Democratic lawmakers on the committee, Newsom noted that, before continuing to speak, "I want to understand exactly what happened yesterday (in the committee)" because it is an issue that "I care deeply about." As an example, he noted that the budget he signed includes a $25 million line item for victims of child sex trafficking.

Speaker Rivas acknowledges the problems with the bill being blocked

As negotiations continued between Grove and Public Safety Committee Chairman Reggie Jones-Sawyer on possible ways for the rule to move forward. However, Grove made it clear that in no case would she allow amendments that would remove the three strike rule and favored a direct vote on the rule by the full Assembly rather than in committee again. In addition, the senator met with Speaker Rivas to unblock the situation and acknowledged that she has some problems with the process the Public Safety committee took to block the bill.

Several Democratic state senators call for SB14 to move forward

Several Democratic senators showed their support for Grove on social media and were confident that SB14 would pass.