You’d think that child sex trafficking would be a pretty serious crime, and that anybody caught doing it would be in big-time trouble. You might even think such an act would be a felony, and that it would count as a “strike” if your state had a three-strikes law.
Not so in the Golden State. Their overwhelmingly Democrat legislature can’t even be troubled to pass a no-brainer law that would make child sex trafficking a felony. First, Democrats in the Assembly’s Public Safety committee voted it down in July, then after outcry and pressure from Governor Gavin Newsom (who only weighed in because he’s interested in running for president), legislators reconsidered and passed it out of committee. Has common sense returned to Sacramento?
Nope. On Wednesday, the bill in question, Senator Shannon Grove’s AB 14, was moved into the Assembly Appropriations Committee’s “suspense file.”
Grove explains: “The Appropriations suspense file is a committee procedure where a bill with a fiscal impact of more than $150,000 is held by the committee chair while considerations are made if it should be passed or retained based on the cost.”
To the surprise of no one, SB 14, the bill to make child sex trafficking a serious felony, was placed in legislative purgatory today. The final hearing for the bill will be September 1st. Let the hand wringing begin. https://t.co/EIHS2ctJbZ— Senator Melissa Melendez (@senatormelendez) August 16, 2023
Grove released a statement explaining why the bill is so important:
As the Appropriations Committee is evaluating the cost of incarcerating traffickers, I hope they will also take into account the basic services associated with the life-long rehabilitation of victims and survivors of this brutal crime. There is no price tag that can be placed on a victim of human trafficking, especially a child. Selling a child to be raped over and over again is a crime so grotesque, immoral and barbaric it should be prevented and stopped at any cost.
She went on to point out that California is one of the top states for human trafficking in the U.S., and that thousands of people—many of them minors—are forced into sexual and labor exploitation each year. Why, oh why, then, is it so hard for these folks to make such a heinous crime a felony?
It’s time we start protecting our children from predators who are lurking online and elsewhere, waiting to take advantage of the most vulnerable people in our communities
I just witnessed an operation in Kern County where 22 perpetrators were arrested during one operation, this is happening all across California. It’s time we call human trafficking what it really is, a serious crime that deserves a serious consequence.
Even in Crazy California, many legislators realize the severity of the problem:
I'm guessing that if you asked 100 people if child sex trafficking was a serious crime and should be considered a felony, 99 of them would say, "Of course." It's simply amazing that a law such as this even needs more than a five-minute discussion—it should have been passed yesterday. The fact that it's now stuck in a "suspense file" is shameful, and only further cements California Democrats' reputation as radical extremists.