California Assembly Blocks Child Trafficking Bill

Legislation that would have made Child Trafficking punishable by life in prison was blocked by the California Assembly Public Safety Committee, despite passing through the state’s Senate with bipartisan support.

The committee considered Senate Bill 14, which would make the human trafficking of children a “serious felony.” Serious felony charges under California law currently include murder, rape, and any other crime which may incur the death penalty or life sentence in state prison.

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Fox News reports, “No Democrats on the committee voted for the bill. Only one Republican assemblyman, Assemblyman Tom Lackey, voted yes. At the same time, the GOP vice chair of the committee, Assemblyman Juan Alanis, was out of the committee room at the time of the vote.”

After voting to block the measure, a victim in the chamber screamed “horrible” between sobs.

California Assembly Blocks Trafficking Bill

“You know you’re on the wrong side of an issue when you deliver a win for human traffickers. Democrats on the Public Safety Committee proved they have no intention of protecting the lives of Californians, let alone protecting innocent children from the horrors of human trafficking,” California GOP chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson said.

The report added that “S.B. 14 was given reconsideration, meaning it could be taken up again by the California Assembly next year.”

The bill had been supported by Elizabeth Smart, whose kidnapping at age 14 made national headlines.

“This bill should be passed into law without hesitation. Too many victims fear coming forward and speaking out for fear of their trafficker’s repercussions,” Smart had said of the bill prior to Tuesday’s vote. “Too often, we are restricted in our efforts to serve justice, and far too often, victims and survivors never even glimpse justice. Trafficking is heinous and brutal – a crime, thankfully, many of us will never experience. This is a small step we can take to begin protecting our survivors and procure some small modicum of justice.”

In Florida, however, Attorney General Ashley Moody is demanding Mark Zuckerberg explain the high volume of human trafficking across Meta platforms after a report revealed pedophiles are using the metaverse to exploit children sexually.

Moody fired off a letter to Zuckerberg Monday, inviting the CEO to speak with Florida’s Statewide Council on Human Trafficking on what measures, if any, the tech giant is taking to end human trafficking on sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp.

Facebook was reportedly the top platform used for the recruitment of human trafficking.

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