State Senate Bill Seeks to Make Human Trafficking a ‘Three Strikes’ Criminal Offense

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

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

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

“At National City we had one, the pimp, he set her on fire and stabbed her 11 times. So what isn’t violent about human trafficking? said Marisa Ugarte, executive director of the Security Corridor Bilateral Coalitionan anti-trafficking organization.

Senate Bill 1042 would change California law to make human trafficking a violent and serious crime and to make it a crime of “strike”.

Under California’s three strikes law, anyone convicted of a third violent or serious offense is sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

“It’s the best deterrent I’ve seen in a long time,” Ugarte said.

Ugarte says anyone, from any background, can be a victim of sex trafficking, but in California, immigrants are particularly at risk.

“We have them all. Chinese, Vietnamese, anyone who crosses the border or is trafficked in some form. So we are a place of reception, and also a place of transit,” Ugarte said.

The bill was introduced by the state senator Shannon Grove (R) of Bakersfield and San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephen says she supports efforts to attack human trafficking on all fronts. Stephen says, in part:

“This legislation ensures that traffickers are sentenced to prison, establishes tougher sentences for repeat offenders and prevents traffickers from being granted early parole,” Stephen said.

Senate Bill 1042 could be heard by the Public Safety Committee from March 15. For more information on human sex trafficking, click HELP.

Norman D. Briggs