California BLOCKS Anti-Human Trafficking Bill

In a surprising turn of events on Tuesday, the Assembly Public Safety Committee prevented the passage of Senate Bill 14 (SB 14), a proposed law aimed at classifying the trafficking of minors as a severe felony in California. Despite receiving bipartisan support and previously being approved by the Senate, the bill faced strong opposition in the Assembly, ultimately leading to its unfortunate demise.

The rejection of the bill sparked an outcry from the public, with expressions of dismay reverberating throughout the chamber while victims tearfully expressed their sorrow at the podium. This highly emotional scene emphasized the seriousness of the issue at hand and the disappointment felt by many due to the bill’s failure to be enacted.

Proposed by a Republican Senator from Bakersfield, SB 14 had previously witnessed a rare moment of harmony in the Senate, as two Democratic Senators from the Bay Area lent their support. This bipartisan endorsement of the bill underscored the widespread acknowledgment of the gravity of human trafficking and the urgent necessity for more robust legislation to combat this issue.

SB 14 aimed to redefine the legal approach towards human trafficking, specifically concerning minors. The bill aimed to forbid the practice of plea bargaining in cases involving severe felonies, such as human trafficking. Furthermore, it sought to ensure that district attorneys prosecute cases of violent sexual crimes under statutes that impose sentencing through a “one strike,” “three strikes,” or habitual sex offender provision, rather than engaging in plea negotiations regarding those offenses.

The Assembly Public Safety Committee’s rejection of the bill is a major blow to advocates fighting against human trafficking. This outcome has triggered anger and disillusionment among proponents of the legislation, who believe that it plays a crucial role in combating this heinous crime.

The obstruction of SB 14 raises significant concerns regarding the fate of future anti-human trafficking laws in California. Despite this setback, supporters maintain optimism that a revised edition of the bill or comparable legislation will be proposed and approved in the days to come. The failure of SB 14 serves as a poignant reminder of the obstacles that await in the ongoing battle against human trafficking.




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