Sen. Grove‘s measure to increase penalties for child sex buyers, passes out of Assembly Public Safety Committee

Senator Shannon Grove’s (R-BakersfieldSenate Bill 1414 (SB 1414) passed out of the Assembly Public Safety Committee. SB 1414 addresses the lucrative crime of sex trafficking and aims to increase penalties for those who purchase children for sex. For television and radio outlets, click here to hear remarks from Senator Grove following the committee vote on SB 1414 today.

SB 1414 is a bipartisan measure, joint authored by Senator Anna Caballero (D-Merced) and Senator Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park), and co-sponsored by Love Never Fails and 3Strands Global Foundation.

In its original form, SB 1414 attempted to make the act of soliciting or engaging in any act of commercial sex with a minor a felony. However, amendments forced on the bill earlier this year by Democrats in the Senate Public Safety Committee watered down the language, excluding 16- and 17-year-old children from the bill’s additional protections.

Today, additional amendments added by the Assembly Public Safety Committee require that 16- and 17-year-olds would have to be proven victims of human trafficking in order for the buyer to be held accountable and charged with a stronger penalty, something that district attorneys have said will make it even harder to prosecute.

It should not be so complicated to protect ALL children from being purchased for sex, yet some Democrat legislators think 16 and 17 year olds should not have the same protections given to 15 year olds.

“Don’t be fooled by the Public Safety Chairs’ announcement that they restored a felony for purchasing children in SB 1414. Today the Assembly Public Safety Committee amended SB 1414, making it even harder to protect 16 and 17 year old children.  In order for 16 and 17 year olds to have additional protections, they must first prove to be victims of human trafficking. Now, two crimes must be proven, the buying AND the selling of a child, before a buyer can receive a stronger penalty. ALL children deserve to be protected equally. When will the Public Safety Committees prioritize the protection of all children over perpetrators?” said Senator Shannon Grove.

SB 1414 will next be heard by the Assembly Appropriations Committee in August.