Connect with us

Antonio‌ ‌Ray‌ ‌Harvey‌

New California Law Harshens Penalties for Trafficking Children for Sex

Senate Bill (SB) 14 — legislation that makes trafficking of a minor for purposes of a commercial sex act a serious felony — is now the law in California. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill on Sept. 25 accompanied by First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, State Sen. Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield), who authored the bill, State Sen. Anna Caballero (D-Merced), as well as survivors and advocates.

Published

on

Sen. Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) talks to the media at the State Capitol on Sept. 13 after SB 14 passed in the Assembly and Senate. CBM photo by Antonio Ray Harvey.
Sen. Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) talks to the media at the State Capitol on Sept. 13 after SB 14 passed in the Assembly and Senate. CBM photo by Antonio Ray Harvey.

By Antonio Ray Harvey
California
Black Media

Senate Bill (SB) 14 — legislation that makes trafficking of a minor for purposes of a commercial sex act a serious felony — is now the law in California.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill on Sept. 25 accompanied by First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, State Sen. Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield), who authored the bill, State Sen. Anna Caballero (D-Merced), as well as survivors and advocates.

SB 14 classifies human trafficking as a serious felony, subjecting it to the state’s “Three Strikes” law, which imposes harsher penalties and sentencing enhancements for individuals convicted of the offense.

“Human trafficking is a sick crime. With this new law, California is going further to protect kids. I’m grateful for the leadership of Senator Grove, Speaker Robert Rivas (D-Hollister), and Pro Tem (Sen. Toni) Atkins (D-San Diego) in spearheading this bipartisan effort to make our communities and children safer,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom at the signing ceremony.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, “human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide.”

Advocates of SB 14 believe it will be a deterrent for the men and women who exploit children using the internet or force them into labor in red-light districts in major California cities such as the 5.7-mile stretch on Figueroa Boulevard in Los Angeles, Capp Street in San Francisco, International Boulevard in Oakland, Stockton Boulevard in Sacramento, Dalbergia Street in San Diego, and Wilson Way in Stockton.

“We got some stats and numbers from Figueroa from people that work in that area to rescue women and children,” Grove said at the State Capitol on Sept. 13. “They made comments that this bill disproportionately affects people of color … and it does. (SB 14) gives women and children an opportunity to be rescued and the perpetrator to be prisoned for many years.

The United States operates a national hotline, which serves as a platform for individuals to report suspected trafficking or seek assistance. According to data gathered from the hotline in 2015 through 2021, the number of people trafficking victims nationwide rose from 12,000 in 2015 to more than 22,200 in 2019 and then fell to 16,700 in 2021.

Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), reports that from 2015 to 2021, the share of human trafficking cases involving sex trafficking increased from 87% to 89% in California, and from 85% to 88% nationally.

Statewide and nationally, sex trafficking is most common in pornography, massage parlors, and hotels. Among those trafficked for their labor, about 1 in 5 works in private homes, according to PPIC’s data.

SB 14 was hotly debated as it made its way through the legislative process this past summer. Some members of the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC), including Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), chair of the Assembly Public Safety Committee were the targets of threats and racial slurs for not initially supporting the bill.

Jones-Sawyer and other CLBC members on the Public Safety Committee — Majority Leader Assemblymember Isaac Bryan (D-Ladera Heights) and Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Alameda) — argued that that trafficking was already a crime under California law punishable by 15 years to life in prison. They argued that SB 14 was ineffective as a deterrent to the crime, and that it would perpetuate the poverty-to-prison pipeline.

Jones-Sawyer, who later voted to pass SB 14, said he was never against the bill, only parts of its language, which he deemed unacceptable because he felt it would cause more harm to trafficking victims rather than aid them.

A conviction under SB 14, including previous felonies, would increase prison sentences to 25 years to life. The trafficking of minors currently carries a prison term up to 12 years, or 15 years to life.

“We definitely thought there were a lot of merits to the bill, including how do we make sure these individuals are charged with serious felonies? We wanted to make sure that actually happens,” Jones-Sawyer told California Black Media. “It’s really about making sure that this doesn’t harm victims of human trafficking.”

SB 14, which passed the Assembly and Senate unanimously, is a bipartisan measure co-authored by 64 members of the Legislature. The legislation is supported by over 100 local, national and international organizations, including a coalition of human trafficking survivors and advocates.

Since 2019, California has taken a comprehensive approach to fight human trafficking. The state has invested a total of $280.1 million to dismantle trafficking networks and support victims and survivors, according to the Newsom administration.

The state has provided substantial funding to expand support programs for human trafficking survivors and Family Justice Centers — creating a one-stop facility for victims and their families to access various services — and allocated $25 million for the prevention, intervention, and services for minor victims of commercial sexual exploitation.

Newsom has signed several laws aimed at strengthening legal safeguards for victims of trafficking, including measures for vacating convictions and for considering trauma in determining sentences.

“The trafficking of young women and girls is a heinous crime with far too many victims,” Siebel-Newsom stated. “I’ve seen the pain survivors carry for a lifetime and having recently visited the infamous Figueroa sex trafficking corridor, I’ve witnessed the devastating impacts of these crimes — not just on girls and young women — but on entire communities when trafficking persists.”

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Antonio‌ ‌Ray‌ ‌Harvey‌

Funded by Big Tech? Calif. Lawmakers Debate the Future of Journalism

Last month, Sen. Steven Glazer (D-Orinda) vowed to bring back a journalism support bill he authored that had hit a snag in the legislative process. A few weeks later, the lawmaker lived up to his promise. On June 27, the California Senate moved to advance Senate Bill (SB) 1327 with a 27-7 vote under the Urgency Clause – special language contained in legislation that privileges it to take immediate effect after the governor signs it.

Published

on

Sen. Lola Smallwood-Cuevas, a former journalist and member of the California Legislative Black Caucus, supports SB 1327.
Sen. Lola Smallwood-Cuevas, a former journalist and member of the California Legislative Black Caucus, supports SB 1327.

By Antonio Ray Harvey, California Black Media

Last month, Sen. Steven Glazer (D-Orinda) vowed to bring back a journalism support bill he authored that had hit a snag in the legislative process.

A few weeks later, the lawmaker lived up to his promise.

On June 27,  the California Senate moved to advance Senate Bill (SB) 1327 with a 27-7 vote under the Urgency Clausespecial language contained in legislation that privileges it to take immediate effect after the governor signs it.

SB 1327 would impose a charge – called a “data extraction mitigation fee” in the bill — on major digital technology platforms such as Meta, Amazon, and Google to fund local news. Glazer pulled the bill from the floor in May when he discovered he didn’t have the minimum two-thirds votes for passage. Now, that he has generated enough support to move the bill forward, Glazer called his push to pass it a “rescue effort.”

SB 1327 is now on its way to the Assembly for review.

“We are in a moment of peril in our democracy, and our hollowed-out newsrooms are in the center of that crisis,” Glazer said during the opening of his presentation during a hearing for the bill on the Senate floor.

Glazer continued, “Ours is 248 years young. Seventy-one percent of the world’s population is under autocracies. Now, in countries such as Hungary, Argentina, and Turkey, we see these democracies teetering. You simply have to see their actions to curtail and take control of independent news media that was keeping these democracies honest.

SB 1327 has been getting pushback from digital tech giants and some publishers that are worried about losing advertising, the supposed threat of government influence, discrimination against larger publishers, and nonprofit newsrooms getting a slice of the mitigation fee.

Sen. Roger Niello (R-Roseville) voted against the bill. During the debate on the floor, Niello said it gives him “great pause to entertain a proposal” where over half the journalism industries today are “owned by hedge funds and individual investors,” he said.

The lawmaker who owns several high-end car dealerships added that the bill could bring “unintended consequences such as capital venture groups reaping the profits, should SB 1327 become law.

To qualify for the tax credit, news media outlets must initially circulate or distribute news content within the state of California and operate internet platforms.

SB 1327 proposes a 7.25% on gross receipts derived from data extraction transactions, according to the bill’s language.

Sen. Lola Smallwood-Cuevas (D-Los Angeles) spoke the ways public opinion, politics and civic life have been influenced by misinformation and disinformation since the decline of the journalism industry. A member of the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC), Smallwood-Cuevas is a former journalist.

“These are efforts to make a difference,” Smallwood said of SB 1327. “I must applaud the author for his work particularly because the alternative must also include building a representative workforce within the newspaper industry, which this bill takes into account– ensuring that those who look like California tell the story of California.”

Continue Reading

Antonio‌ ‌Ray‌ ‌Harvey‌

California Commission on Aging Celebrates 50 Years with Visionary Gala

Last week, the California Commission on Aging celebrated its 50th anniversary with a gala that recognized a half-century of service and offered a glimpse into the organization’s vison for the future. The event was highlighted by a generous $50,000 donation from Sacramento-based AKT Investments, Inc., aimed at building California’s first multi-generational community center for health and independence. This initiative is set to become a new model for healthy aging in a digital world.

Published

on

Graphic Courtesy of California Commission on Aging
Graphic Courtesy of California Commission on Aging

By Antonio Ray Harvey, California Black Media

Last week, the California Commission on Aging celebrated its 50th anniversary with a gala that recognized a half-century of service and offered a glimpse into the organization’s vison for the future.

The event was highlighted by a generous $50,000 donation from Sacramento-based AKT Investments, Inc., aimed at building California’s first multi-generational community center for health and independence. This initiative is set to become a new model for healthy aging in a digital world.

The evening’s keynote address was delivered by California Secretary of State Shirley Weber, who emphasized the importance of valuing seniors.

“It is imperative as we talk about this journey that we’re on, that we value seniors in every step of life,” Weber stated. “There’s a richness in this room. There’s a richness in California. There’s a richness in this nation that if we just stop and look around, see how far we’ve come, see who’s made it happen for us, we’ll find the joy in living, the joy in getting older and the joy of what we have to give.”

Weber’s words reflected the Commission’s history of addressing the needs of California’s aging population.

“Those of us who are considered older adults have to remind ourselves and our children how old we really are,” Weber continued. “When you’re so busy and life is busy and you’re doing things that are important, age becomes insignificant.”

The gala also featured remarks from the Hon. Cheryl Brown, Chair of the Commission on Aging (CCA), who highlighted the critical role of the Commission over the past 50 years.

“As the chair of the aging and long-term care commission and a current caregiver, I appreciate the value of providing quality and consistent core programs and services throughout California,” Brown said. “So much has changed in our state over 50 years. During my time as a legislator, there were times when I felt alone in my desire to focus on the anticipated growth of our aging population.”

California is experiencing a significant demographic shift, with its aging population growing rapidly. According to recent statistics, the number of residents aged 65 and older is projected to nearly double by 2030. This growth underscores the urgent need for comprehensive community infrastructure that addresses the specific challenges faced by older adults, such as physical disabilities, healthcare needs, and fixed incomes.

California State University Sacramento (Sac State) President Luke Woods echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the role of education and community engagement.

“Older adults face specific challenges such as physical disabilities, healthcare needs, and fixed incomes, and we need to build the same community infrastructure that comprehensively addresses these challenges,” Woods said. “That is why this year, Sac State created the nation’s first Black Honors College to educate students about the experiences of members of the African American diaspora, supported by the AKT scholarship fund.”

Woods said at the heart of the celebration and forward-looking initiative is a spirit of partnership, and AKT’s support of the CCA exemplifies good corporate citizenship.

“AKT is really working to design and create a first-of-its-kind community for health and independence that can be a model for other communities around the country and around the world,” Woods noted. “This vision, in collaboration with the Commission on Aging, UC Davis, and other organizations, aims to foster healthy aging in a digital world and ultimately add life to years.”

Continue Reading

Antonio‌ ‌Ray‌ ‌Harvey‌

Asm. Corey Jackson Calls Asm. Bill Essayli a “Bully” After Assembly Floor Spat

Last week, Assemblymember Corey Jackson (D-Riverside) called Assemblymember Bill Essayli (R-Corona) a “bully” after a verbal spat between the lawmakers in the State Capitol’s Assembly chambers. The incident occurred on June 27 during a hearing for Assembly Bill (AB) 1955 – also called the “Support Academic Futures and Educators for Today’s Youth Act.” That bill calls for prohibiting school districts and employees from disclosing information about a student’s gender identity or sexual orientation without the student’s consent.

Published

on

Asm. Corey Jackson 9D-Moreno Valley), right, has a brief conversation with Asm. Issac Bryan (D-Ladera Heights), left, on the Assembly floor at the State Capitol on June 27 after Jackson has a near confrontation with Asm. Bill Essayli (R-Corona). CBM photo by Antonio Ray Harvey.
Asm. Corey Jackson 9D-Moreno Valley), right, has a brief conversation with Asm. Issac Bryan (D-Ladera Heights), left, on the Assembly floor at the State Capitol on June 27 after Jackson has a near confrontation with Asm. Bill Essayli (R-Corona). CBM photo by Antonio Ray Harvey.

By Antonio Ray Harvey | California Black Media  

Asm. Corey Jackson 9D-Moreno Valley), right, has a brief conversation with Asm. Issac Bryan (D-Ladera Heights), left, on the Assembly floor at the State Capitol on June 27 after Jackson has a near confrontation with Asm. Bill Essayli (R-Corona). CBM photo by Antonio Ray Harvey.

Last week, Assemblymember Corey Jackson (D-Riverside) called Assemblymember Bill Essayli (R-Corona) a “bully” after a verbal spat between the lawmakers in the State Capitol’s Assembly chambers.

The incident occurred on June 27 during a hearing for Assembly Bill (AB) 1955 – also called the “Support Academic Futures and Educators for Today’s Youth Act.” That bill calls for prohibiting school districts and employees from disclosing information about a student’s gender identity or sexual orientation without the student’s consent.

Jackson had to be restrained from approaching Essayli on the Assembly floor after the Republican who represents the 63rd District made provocative comments. Both lawmakers are from Riverside County.

Jackson told Essayli who was a few rows in front of him, “You better watch yourself,” as he was being held back by fellow members of the Assembly, including Isaac Bryan (D-Ladera Heights) and Tina McKinnor (D-Inglewood).

Bryan, McKinnor, and Jackson are members of the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC).

“I am going to leave it as it is and move on. He is who he is,” Jackson told California Black Media (CBM) after the incident,” “Hopefully, it doesn’t happen again but sometimes (Essayli) becomes a bully, and sometimes bullies don’t back down until you force them to.”

Authored by Assemblymember Chris Ward (D-San Diego), AB 1955 passed off the Assembly floor with a 61-16 vote. The bill – supported by the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus — now advances to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk for his approval or veto.

Before the vote, the fracas started after Essayli and Chair Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) were having a contentious back-and-forth about the former prosecutor’s conduct during the debate. Essayli opposed the bill.

Wood told Essayli that he was out of order for bringing up his legislation AB 1413, which he introduced last year. The bill that died in January would’ve required schools to notify parents if their child identified as transgender.

“By the way, I am tired of being interrupted by you,” Essayli said, pointing his finger at Wood. “You do not interrupt them (Democrats).”

Moments later, Jackson reacted to a comment directed at him by Essayli. It is still unclear what was said, and neither party would comment on it. Essayli emailed a statement to CBM concerning the matter, sharing his perspective of Jackson’s action.

“In a free society we don’t silence minority viewpoints, and we certainly don’t resort to threats of violence,” Essayli told CBM. “Mr. Jackson’s conduct was beneath the office he holds and a disservice to the People we represent.”

Continue Reading

Subscribe to receive news and updates from the Oakland Post

* indicates required

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Trending

Copyright ©2021 Post News Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.