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CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING: Senate Bill 1414 passes in committee but faces opposition

Public safety committee adds multiple amendments to the bill on Tuesday
Posted at 7:36 PM, Apr 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-19 22:36:22-04
  • Video shows public safety committee meeting where the bill passed on Tuesday
  • Senate Bill 1414, a bill introduced by Senator Shannon Grove to impose harsher penalties on people who buy children for sex, passed in committee on Tuesday with multiple amendements.

Human trafficking happens everywhere, but in previous stories we’ve done advocates says Union Avenue, also known as the Blade is a hotspot for trafficking.
To combat child sex trafficking, Senator Shannon Grove introduced Senate Bill 1414 which passed in committee on Tuesday

Buying kids for sex could come with more severe penalties soon with Senate Bill 1414, a bill introduced by Senator Shannon Grove to stop child sex trafficking, a crime that’s left a mark on our local community.

“I’m not gonna call them people, I’m gonna call them monsters, but I am a person who was bought by traffickers," Odessa Perkins, a human trafficking survivor and advocate

She serves as a key witness in the creation of SB 1414 and tells me it’s hard to relive her experience when advocating for bills like this but she amplifies the voices of trafficking victims to make them feel safe to share their experience.

“If not me then who?”

That’s something she says the justice system lacks now.

“We don’t say anything because we’re fearful," Perkins said. "We don’t feel that the system is for us.”

Senator Shannon Grove introduced SB1414 to target the buyers, making child sex trafficking a felony punishable by at least 2 years in state prison, a $25,000 fine, and require repeat buyers to register as a sex offender.

“Yea, her trafficker out her out there, but the buyers were the most brutal to her.”

The public safety committee heard the bill on Tuesday morning and adopted three amendments.

“With a clear description, are you forcing these amendments on me madam chair?” Grove asked in the committee meeting.

“Most likely, yes,” Senator Nancy Skinner said.

Grove says she rejected the amendments, but the bill passed with the changes.

According to Grove, the first amendments removed 16 and 17-year-olds from the felony classification, a point she argued against.

“To say they don’t matter is completely unacceptable,” Grove argued.

The next amendment, Grove says would only change the offense to a felony if the second time offender purchasing a child 15 years or younger exceeded a 10 year age gap, and it would require that buyer to register as a sex offender.

Senator Scott Weiner voted in support of these changes.

“This bill will send people to state prison, will put people on the sex offender registry which is basically, effectively the end of their life.”

Grove explained the next amendment, which would mean first-time offenders, purchasing a child, 15-years-old and under, can be punishable by a wobbler, meaning the judge can reduce the sentence to a misdemeanor with a minimum of two day in jail and $10,000 fine.

“What about the victim that’s 15, 14, 16 years old. What about that person?” Grove said.

While Senator Nancy Skinner says she wants to put an end to the sex trafficking market, she made the motion to adopt the amendments, saying the bill as originally written was too broad during that committee meeting.

“It goes after individuals who have not, who again it’s verbal. They haven’t actually engaged,” Skinner said in that meeting.

I reached out to Senator Skinner who was was not available for comment, but Perkins opposed the idea that the bill could cause mass incarceration.

“If you’re opposing a bill because you believe it’ll have more people in jail, then you’re part of the problem.”

She says along with Senator Grove, she’ll continue to push legislators to pass the bill as originally written on behalf of the children in our community.

“They should be able to do what children do without having to worry about someone trying to take them, sell them, and then buy them.”

Grove advises people to contact their local representatives to make their voices heard about the bill as it moves forward.

You can follow the bill's progress here.

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