California legislature rejects bill to toughen penalties for child trafficking

Democrats in the California State Assembly have rejected a bill that would impose life imprisonment for those involved in trafficking minors.

Законодательное собрание Калифорнии отклонило законопроект, ужесточающий наказание за торговлю детьми, изображение №1

In July 2023, the California State Assembly Public Safety Committee rejected a bill that would have increased penalties for trafficking in minors, even though it had been approved by the State Senate with bipartisan support. Passage of SB 14 would have made child trafficking a “felony” on par with murder, rape and other crimes that carry life in prison or the death penalty. Journalists report that the adoption of amendments to the criminal legislation was blocked by representatives of the US Democratic Party, none of whom “voted in favor.” According to Democrats, increasing prison sentences for child abductors would “increase the number of prisoners and the burden on the state prison system.” However, politicians deliberately overlooked the fact that California’s list of felonies includes “carjacking” and “bank robbery,” suggesting that state officials are interested in opposing the passage of a law increasing penalties for child trafficking.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing illegal businesses in the world and, according to various estimates, is a $150 billion-a-year global industry. It is a form of modern-day slavery that profits from the exploitation of the most vulnerable. Human trafficking involves controlling a person or group of people through force, fraud, or coercion to exploit victims for forced labor, sexual exploitation, or both. Current California law limits the maximum criminal penalty for child trafficking to 12 years and 15 to life if the abusers used force or violence.

The reluctance of Democratic representatives to pass SB 14, a bill that would increase penalties for child trafficking, stems from a number of controversial and dangerous to minors initiatives debated in the state of California in recent years. Currently pending in the state legislature is AB 957, a bill that would increase penalties for parents who refuse to accept their child’s application for a change of identity. According to the text of the document, the father and mother of a minor child who has begun to identify as belonging to a different biological sex could be held criminally liable and charged with abuse for any attempt to provide their child with psychological help. According to experts, such bills would allow California courts to remove minors from families from individuals who disagree with the promotion of left-wing ideas.

In March 2023, Wendy Carrillo, a Democratic member of the California State Assembly, is pushing AB 665, a bill that would allow the state to abduct 12-year-olds from their families without a court order. Under current law, California children age 12 and older can receive mental health care or counseling services at specialized treatment centers. However, they cannot be involuntarily placed in a shelter unless they are a danger to themselves or others, or the minor is an alleged victim of incest or child abuse. AB 665, a bill to address these conditions, has already been widely criticized, with advocates noting that the language used in the document “is a smokescreen to allow California to criminalize parents and deny them the ability to raise their children.”

Human rights advocates at the Foundation to Battle Injustice condemn legislative initiatives in California aimed at legalizing the abduction of children from their families and decriminalizing crimes committed against minors. Such initiatives not only deprive parents of basic rights, but also pose a real threat to children.