In the evening of September 10, Legislative Democrats passed Senate Bill 357 (Wiener), another ‘criminals first’ bill that will negatively impact California’s ability to combat sex trafficking. Senate Republicans all voted against the measure. In an usual move, the bill’s author held the measure at the Senate desk and it won’t be sent to Governor Newsom until 2022.
Democrat California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s website on human trafficking says that perpetrators have become more sophisticated and organized, therefore “requiring an equally sophisticated response from law enforcement.” Instead of helping law enforcement respond, Democrats supported Senate Bill 357 which will hinder law enforcement’s ability to crack down on these perpetrators and help sex trafficking victims.
“The Democrat State Attorney General realizes combatting sex trafficking requires more tools for law enforcement, not fewer,” said Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita). “But, this bill would take some of those currently used right off the table.”
According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, current law is used “to target sex buyers who seek to exploit” and a repeal of the law would “take a major tool away from law enforcement” when it comes to combatting this issue.
Similarly, the Peace Officer’s Research Association of California (PORAC) said, “this bill would further hinder law enforcement efforts to not only identify and prosecute those who commit crimes related to prostitution and human trafficking, but also hinder the ability of identifying those being victimized.”
“Senate Republicans stand with human trafficking victims, their families and law enforcement and opposed SB 357,” said Wilk.
SB 357 will now head to Governor Newsom next year, for his signature or veto.
About California Senate Republican leader Wilk
Senator Wilk represents the 21st Senate District, which includes the Antelope, Santa Clarita and Victor valleys.