Signing ceremony
Sen. Shannon Grove and Gov. Gavin Newsom hold the signed bill. Photo courtesy of the California Senate Republican Caucus

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday signed Sen. Shannon Grove‘s bill making sex trafficking of a minor a “three strikes” law keeping an offender in prison for a minimum of 25 years.

Senate Bill 14, which temporarily faced unexpected opposition in the state Assembly, was signed in a ceremony at the Capitol.

“The signing of Senate Bill 14 is a huge victory for California’s children and the survivors of sex trafficking who have long fought for justice,” said Grove, a Republican representing the Bakersfield area. 

“With the passage of this bill, we are sending a clear message to child traffickers — we intend to put you out of business and behind bars where you belong,” she said.

The Senate unanimously passed SB 14 in June. However, it was temporarily halted by an Assembly committee in July over concerns about prison crowding. But after sharp criticism from activists and law enforcement, the bill moved forward.

“I am grateful for the incredible support from the human trafficking survivors who have bravely shared their story with the hope of making this change, the 64 legislative co-authors of SB 14, and the Governor for signing this important bill,” said Grove.

It has been more than a decade since the California Legislature passed a bill to expand the offences covered by the state’s three strikes law.  

Senate Bill 14 goes into effect on Jan. 1.

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