Newsom Signs Bill To Protect Children From Trafficking

In a bipartisan effort to protect California’s most vulnerable citizens, Gov. Gavin Newsom has taken a significant step towards safeguarding the state’s children by signing legislation that elevates child trafficking to a “serious felony.” This crucial law, spearheaded by Sen. Shannon Grove (R-CA) and Sen. Anna Caballero (D-CA), was signed into effect on Monday, as announced in a press release from Newsom’s office.

Newsom expressed his deep concern for the welfare of children, stating, “Human trafficking is a sick crime. With this new law, California is going further to protect kids. I’m grateful for the leadership of Senator Grove, Speaker Rivas, and Pro Tem Atkins in spearheading this bipartisan effort to make our communities and children safer.”

“Human sex trafficking is a heinous crime that can have numerous long-lasting, harmful impacts on victims, survivors, and their families,” the press release also stated.

Under current California law, a “serious felony” encompasses offenses like murder, voluntary manslaughter, mayhem, rape, and other crimes that carry the possibility of the death penalty or a life sentence in state prison.

By classifying child sex trafficking as a serious felony, the state ensures that those who commit this heinous crime will face severe consequences, potentially including a life sentence. Repeat offenders and individuals with a history of other serious felonies will now find themselves facing more substantial prison time.

Initially, the bill faced some resistance. However, both the state Assembly and Senate eventually passed the legislation with unanimous support, underscoring the broad consensus on the necessity of combating child trafficking.

California has committed substantial resources to fight child trafficking and assist victims and survivors, allocating $280.1 million since 2019 for this purpose, according to the governor’s press release. 

The bill’s author, Grove, expressed her determination to prevent repeat child sex traffickers from being released early from prison. In a statement obtained by KCRA, she declared, “With the passage of this bill, we are sending a clear message to child traffickers — we intend to put you out of business and behind bars where you belong.”