Minor sex trafficking now considered a serious felony under California law

Public outcry helped propel Senate Bill 14 forward over the summer to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk this week.

Sen. Shannon Grove’s (R–Bakersfield) bill to increase penalties on sex trafficking has been signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom. 

Senate Bill 14 has been codified just months after Assembly Democrats tried to kill it. 


The big picture: SB 14 includes sex trafficking of minors in the list of crimes that are considered serious felonies. 

  • That makes the crime a strike under the Three Strikes law, meaning violators would face 25 years to life if they already have two prior convictions for serious felonies. 
  • This is the first time the state has expanded the Three Strikes law in over a decade. 
  • Senators Anna Caballero (D–Merced) and Susan Rubio (D–Baldwin Park) introduced SB 14 with Grove last year.

The backstory: In July the Assembly Public Safety Committee refused to move the bill forward despite SB 14 already having full support from the Senate. 

  • Significant public outcry led Assembly leadership to force the committee to reconsider the bill. 

What they’re saying: “The signing of Senate Bill 14 is a huge victory for California’s children and the survivors of sex trafficking who have long fought for justice,” Grove said in a statement. “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.” 

  • Grove thanked the thousands of Californians who spoke up about SB 14 to help push the Legislature to pass it. 
  • “We are here today because of the overwhelming public outrage that propelled this bill through the legislature and ultimately helped protect our children from predators.”
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