Senator Grove Highlights Importance of National Human Trafficking Awareness Month

In Partnership with “Truckers against Trafficking” Campaign Awareness

As a strong advocate against human trafficking, Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) co-hosted a bipartisan press conference with survivors, advocates, and members of the California State Legislature to mark January as National Human Trafficking Month.

“There is often a misconception that Human Trafficking only happens in faraway places, yet we know that this crime is taking place right here in our own backyard,” said Senator Grove. 

“It has been a top priority of my colleagues to combat the buying and selling of human beings—from educating the public about the prevalence of this crime right here in our own backyard, to the passing of Senator Grove’s Senate Bill 14. Bipartisan support and collaboration across all sectors are crucial for our success and I urge everyone to join hands in this fight,” said Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R-Yucaipa), co-author of SCR 97.

Although California is moving in the right direction to combat Human Trafficking, there remains a significant amount of work to address this crisis. In order to raise public awareness and promote education surrounding the prevalence of this crime, Senator Grove introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 97 (SCR 97), which would recognize the month of January 2024 as National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. 

“I’m grateful for the bipartisan support of my resolution and thankful for the many partnerships, including California Highway Patrol and the California Trucking Association for their commitment to being the eyes and the ears on the road. Yet, we know there still is a significant amount of work that needs to be done and I look forward to continuing our efforts together to ensure Californians are protected from this brutal crime,” concluded Senator Grove.

The transportation industry plays a critical role in fighting against human traffickers. This year, Senator Grove has partnered with the California Trucking Association whose campaign awareness “Truckers against Traffickers” is designed to work in collaboration with law enforcement. These transportation professionals are the eyes and ears for law enforcement.

“Truckers are often the first to witness signs of human trafficking during their journeys. We are proud to share that to date more than 1.7 million trucking industry professionals have received critical training through our partnership with Truckers Against Trafficking, which has empowered them with the tools to recognize and report human trafficking. We want to thank Senator Grove for her leadership in spotlighting this brutal crime, and we are committed to working with her and other elected officials, law enforcement, and non-government organization to eradicate this crime,” said Eric Sauer, California Trucking Association CEO. 

Last year, Senator Grove also authored Senate Bill 14 sponsor by 3Strands Global Foundation, which classifies the crime of child sex trafficking as a serious felony and a strike offense under California’s Three Strikes law.

"After 14 years of combating human trafficking, we at 3Strands Global Foundation recognize the importance of cooperative and bipartisan efforts to prevent this crime. We thank Senator Grove and all those sponsoring SCR 97 for their willingness to stand up together and acknowledge January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month in California. This dedication is a testament to the power of unity in addressing such critical issues and highlights the significant role that cooperation plays in creating positive change. The bipartisan support for this cause reflects our shared values and belief that, by working together, we can make substantial progress in the fight against human trafficking," said Ashlie Bryant, CEO 3Strands Global Foundation.  

SB 14, which took effect January 1, 2024, marks a significant milestone in the state’s fight against child sex trafficking. Those who profit from the sale of children will face longer prison sentences, ensuring that there is justice for human trafficking survivors and emphasizes California’s dedication to protect the most vulnerable members of our community.

California has sadly earned the distinction of being one of the largest sites of human trafficking in the United States. However, with the implementation of SB 14, California has sent a clear message that this crime must stop and we will not tolerate the exploitation of our children.

“I am grateful to Senator Grove for her dedication to addressing human trafficking and her genuine concern for victims and survivors. As a personal survivor of human trafficking, I know the brutal reality that the lucrative crime of human trafficking creates a lifetime of trauma for the victim and their families. At the Jenna McKaye Foundation, we focus on both educating the public through my lived experience and providing healing equine therapy for high-risk youth,” said Jenna McKaye, CEO of The Jenna McKaye Foundation

Senator Shannon Grove urges all Californians to do their part and join her in observing National Human Trafficking Month by learning the signs of human trafficking at Together, we can make a difference and protect our children from the grips of exploitation.

Press conference videos and photos: