Governor Newsom Signs Law Cracking Down on Sex Trafficking of Minors


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Governor Newsom signed SB 14 (Grove) to make the trafficking of a minor for purposes of a commercial sex act a serious felony.

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom, joined by First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, State Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield), State Senator Anna Caballero (D-Merced), and survivors and advocates, today signed SB 14 (Grove) into law to steepen penalties for human trafficking of minors in California. The law designates human trafficking of a minor for purposes of a commercial sex act as a serious felony — including under the state’s “Three Strikes” law — and imposes harsher penalties and sentencing enhancements for individuals convicted of the crime.

WHAT GOVERNOR NEWSOM SAID: “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 Rivas, and Pro Tem Atkins in spearheading this bipartisan effort to make our communities and children safer.”

“The trafficking of young women and girls is a heinous crime with far too many victims,” said First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. “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. That’s why I am especially grateful to Senator Grove for her assiduousness in combating human trafficking and helping ensure California is a safer place for women and children.”

“I want to thank the Governor for signing SB 14, today is a huge victory for California’s children and the survivors of sex trafficking who have long fought for justice,” said Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield). “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.”

“Strengthening our laws to better protect minors from sex trafficking is not only legislatively the right thing to do, it is morally the right thing to do,” said Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego). “I appreciate my colleague and friend, Senator Shannon Grove, for her fierce dedication to this bill and to victims and survivors, as well as the leadership of Governor Newsom and Speaker Rivas on this effort. For years, my colleagues and I have worked on laws to increase awareness of trafficking, prevent it from occurring, and help individuals and families impacted by it – SB 14 further upholds those goals.”

“California’s leaders are united against human trafficking and ensuring that victims are not themselves criminalized,” said Speaker of the Assembly Robert Rivas (D-Hollister). “SB 14 reinforces this commitment. I want to recognize and thank my Assembly colleagues, who supported this bill with an 80-0 vote. And I applaud the author and the Governor for their leadership and commitment on this critical issue.”

Human sex trafficking is a heinous crime that can have numerous long-lasting, harmful impacts on victims, survivors, and their families. SB 14, which passed the state Assembly and Senate unanimously, is a bipartisan measure co-authored by 64 members of the Legislature. The legislation is supported by over a hundred local, national and international organizations, including a coalition of human trafficking survivors and advocates.

Since 2019, California has taken a comprehensive approach to combat human trafficking, with a total investment of $280.1 million to take down traffickers and support victims and survivors. 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. In 2022, California funded Human Trafficking Task Forces at the California Department of Justice to address statewide human trafficking, resulting in numerous arrests and assistance to victims. The California Highway Patrol’s interdiction efforts on task forces and operations have led to numerous arrests of traffickers. Governor Newsom has signed multiple bills to strengthen legal protections for trafficking victims, including provisions for vacating convictions and considering trauma in sentencing.