California Assembly Blocks Legislation That Would Have Made Child Trafficking Punishable By Life in Prison

The California Assembly Committee on Public Safety has squashed a bill that would have increased the charges for human trafficking, despite it passing through the state’s Senate with bipartisan support.

ali would have made human trafficking of children a “serious felony,” on par with murder, rape, or other crimes that could carry life in prison or the death penalty.

On Tuesday, the California Assembly Public Safety Committee blocked the measure, prompting a victim to scream out “horrible” through sobs.

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

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 traffickers 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.”

The bill had passed through the senate in May.

 

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