Senate passes bill to increase sex-traffiking penalty

SB 14, a bill created by Senator Shannon Grove, passes through senate with a unanimous vote, meaning the penalty for sex-trafficking in the state of California may soon increase

(Senator Shannon Grove's Office)
Brock Linebaugh
Published September 15, 2023  • 
12:00 pm

SACRAMENTO – Senator Shannon Grove’s Senate Bill 14, which will attempt to classify human trafficking of a minor as a serious felony and qualify the crime under the “three strikes law,” cleared the full Senate on concurrence with a unanimous vote on Sept. 13.

“Today is a huge victory for every survivor who has shared their story in hopes of making a change with Senate Bill 14,” Grove said. “With the passage of this bill, we are sending a clear message to repeat child traffickers— we intend to put you out of business and into prison.”

Although this will help SB 14 move closer to implementation, the bill still needs to be passed through the legislature and is headed to the Governor’s desk for his signature by October 14.

This bipartisan measure is co-authored by 64 members of the Legislature and is supported by over a hundred local, national and international organizations, including a coalition of human trafficking survivors and advocates. 3Strands Global Foundation, whose mission is to mobilize communities in order to combat human trafficking through prevention, education and reintegration programs, sponsored the measure.

The information release on the announcement states that “Human trafficking is a heinous crime that violates basic human rights and destroys countless lives. In California, human trafficking is rampant, and the state must take bold action to hold traffickers accountable for their crimes.”

As covered by The Sun-Gazette, Exeter City Council voted unanimously to support this bill during their May 23 meeting. In that same article, Senator Grove’s thoughts on the bill were shared.

“It’s hard to believe that selling a human being over and over again is not considered a serious crime in California. Senate Bill 14 will protect countless children who are being trafficked and prevent this horrific crime from happening,” Grove stated via press release. “This bill is one of the missing pieces that is needed in order to address one of the most lucrative crimes in the world that is happening in communities across our state.”

According to the Sept. 13 press release, an estimated 40 million people globally in the last decade have been forced into this form of modern slavery, a number that continues to grow. Grove and her team believe this horrendous practice could very easily be defined as, ‘The Crime of our Time.’

Sex trafficking is one of the world’s fastest growing and most lucrative crimes, generating around $150 billion around the world each year.

“Over the past 13 years, 3Strands Global Foundation has worked alongside survivors in our prevention and reintegration work,” said Ashlie Bryant, CEO and co-founder of 3Strands. “The final passage of SB 14 through the California State Legislature is a win for every Californian and especially our survivors who have advocated for this legislation for the last several years. Thank you Senator Grove for your leadership with this bi-partisan bill.”

According to a past article posted by The Sun-Gazette, the Central Valley is particularly susceptible to all types of human trafficking, due to its location between hubs in Southern California and the Bay Area, along with its high number of vulnerable populations – such as migrant workers and foster youth.

Of those trafficked, nine out of 10 are women, and three in 10 are minors. Two-thirds of the affected population were born in the United States and 80% of them are forced into prostitution. These numbers were last updated in 2020 on the Central Valley Against Human Trafficking website.

Senator Shannon Grove represents California’s 12th Senate District which encompasses large portions of Fresno, Kern and Tulare counties.

Brock Linebaugh