Human trafficking
Child sex trafficking. Image via Wikimedia Commons

A bill to make human trafficking of a minor a “serious felony” in California has passed the state Senate on a unanimous vote.

Senate Bill 14, authored by Republican Shannon Grove of Bakersfield, adds human trafficking of a minor to the list of felony crimes that are defined as serious, making it a strike offense under California’s Three Strikes law.

“It’s hard to believe that selling a human being over and over again is not considered a serious crime in California,” said Grove after the vote on Thursday. “Senate Bill 14 will protect countless children who are being trafficked and prevent this horrific crime from happening.”

“This bill is one of the missing pieces that is needed in order to address one of the most lucrative crimes in the world that is happening in communities across our state,” she said.

Similar legislation failed last year, but concern over human trafficking has been growing in the state.

The legislation was backed by San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan, who has noted that “California is the place that has the most reports of human trafficking in the United States.”

SB 14 will next be heard in the Assembly Public Safety Committee.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.