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State Senate bill aims to make human sex trafficking a 'Three Strikes' felony offense

Under current California law, human trafficking is defined as a “non-serious” and “non-violent” crime.

SAN DIEGO — Law enforcement agencies across the state are backing a new bill that would allow human sex trafficking to fall under California’s ‘Three Strikes’ law.

Under current California law, human trafficking is defined as a “non-serious” and “non-violent” crime. But a state law maker wants those who are caught sex trafficking, to pay a heavier price behind bars.

“In National City, we had one, the pimp, he set her on fire and stabbed her 11 times. So, what is not violent about human trafficking?” said Marisa Ugarte, Executive Director of the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition, an anti-human trafficking organization. 

Senate Bill 1042 would change California law to make human trafficking a violent and serious felony and for it to be considered a ‘Strike’ crime. 

Under California’s Three Strikes Law, anyone convicted of a third violent or serious offense is sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

“This is the best deterrent that I’ve seen in a long time,” Ugarte said. 

Ugarte says anyone, from any background can be sex trafficked but in California immigrants are especially at risk.

“We have them all. Chinese, Vietnamese, whoever is coming across the border or is being trafficked in one form or another. So, we are a place of receiving them, and also a place of transit," Ugarte said.

The Bill was introduced by State Senator Shannon Grove (R) from Bakersfield and San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephen says she supports the effort to attack human trafficking on all fronts. Stephen says, in part:

“This legislation ensures traffickers are sentenced to prison, establishes increased penalties for repeat offenders, and prevents traffickers from receiving early parole,” Stephen said. 

Senate Bill 1042 could be heard by the Public Safety Committee as early as March 15th. For more information about Human sex trafficking, Click HELP.

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