SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Last week, Governor Newsom signed the controversial SB 145 into law. SB 145 lessens the penalties for adults having sexual relations with minors as young as 14-years-old, as long as the adult is within 10 years of age.
The law gives judges the discretion on deciding whether or not the adult would be forced to register as a sex offender.
San Diego Mayoral candidate Todd Gloria voted in favor of the legislation.
This new legislation in California has once again brought the issue of human trafficking to the center of conversation. Human trafficking is a major issue across the country, especially here in San Diego with the US-Mexico border so close.
Saved In America is a group working to combat sex trafficking and they are taking a strong stand against SB 145, urging voters to take action. They believe SB 145 will lead to more human trafficking and empower sexual offenders.
Saved In America advisory Board Member, Stephanie Myers told KUSI that “children, when they are trafficked, they are lured.” Myers continued, “thankfully we have a presidential administration who is combating human trafficking and calling it modern day slavery.”
California is the second worst state for human trafficking in the United States.
Myers, joined KUSI News to discuss how the group has found success working with the Trump Administration to combat human trafficking, and to detail their strong opposition to SB 145.
The Saved in America Group sent a letter to Governor Newsom detailing their concerns about SB 145:
Dear Governor Newsom:
As Chief Counsel for Saved In America, Inc. (“SIA”), I am requesting that you consider “leveling the playing field” in a whole different way then presented in SB 145. SB 145 “levels the playing field” for the adults without prejudice of their sexual preference. I believe the time has come to “level the playing field” for the children they are having sex with. The premise for my request is that any child under 18 cannot give “legal consent” to have sex with an adult. If they cannot legal drink until their 21 years old or be drafted into the military until they are 18 years old, how can they possibly be “old enough” to have consensual sex with an adult? I believe that the penalty for an adult having sexual relations with any minor, regardless of the 10-year age difference limitation or sexual preference, should not be tolerated and should be met with harsh consequences, presently discriminatorily meted out only against homosexual sexual acts.
SIA is a non-profit organization that assists parents/guardians in locating missing children and then assists law enforcement in the recovery of the children in rehabilitation processes. Many of the children SIA has located were either solicited for sex trafficking, being groomed for sex trafficking or were actively being sex trafficked when they were rescued. They were all under 18, with a medium age of 15. Source.
We are no longer living in an era where sexual crimes against children are rare. Sadly, we live in a time where child sex trafficking in the United States is second only to drug trafficking. (Source).
The statistics below establish that child sex trafficking in California is at horrifically high levels and is a top destination for trafficking in the United States:
Human trafficking is among the world’s fastest growing criminal enterprises and is estimated to be a $150 billion-a-year global industry. The victims of human trafficking are often young girls and women. Young girls and women are 57.6% of forced labor victims and 99.4% of sex trafficking victims. California – a populous border state with a significant immigrant population and the world’s fifth largest economy – is one of the nation’s top destination states for trafficking human beings. (Source).
According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, California consistently has the highest number of human trafficking incidents reported in the United States. There are more cases of human trafficking reported in California than any other state in the U.S. In 2017, an estimated 1 out of 7 endangered runaways reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were likely child sex trafficking victims. (Source).
The most human trafficking cases have been reported in California, Texas, and Florida, according to the hotline. Las Vegas is also a hot spot due to the city’s culture and high rates of homelessness. But every state in the US has reports of human trafficking. Children are more vulnerable than adults. They’re easier to control, cheaper, and less likely to demand working conditions, researchers explained. More than 300,000 young people in the US are considered “at risk” of sexual exploitation. Children raised in foster care have a greater chance of becoming victims. In 2013, 60% of child victims the FBI recovered were from foster care. In 2017, 14% of children reported missing were likely victims of sex trafficking, and 88% of those had been in child welfare, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported. (Source).
Many people who read about the sting were probably shocked to learn child sex trafficking is happening in our community. Every day, children are being moved quickly and discreetly along Highways 80, 50, 99 and 5, and trafficked in parking lots, hotels and through various online escort services. The billion-dollar trafficking industry is nimble and ever-evolving, making identifying victims and stopping perpetrators very difficult. California has emerged as a magnet for sex trafficking of children; three of the nation’s top 13 child sex trafficking areas are here – San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. No community escapes exploitation’s reach. The victims recently recovered in Sacramento ranged in age from 15 to 17. For many of these victims, their exploitation likely began years earlier. The average age that children are first trafficked is between 12 and 14 for girls, and 11 and 13 for boys. Victims as young as age 9 have been reported. Several studies indicate that between 70 and 90 percent of exploited children have experienced child sexual abuse before they are commercially exploited. Sex traffickers are known to target foster youth because of their vulnerabilities and prior abuse. (Source).
Please reconsider any existing laws or enacting any new laws that ease the penalties for adults involved in the sexual exploitation of children in California. SB 145 and its predecessor must be repealed and replaced with new legislation that goes to all extremes to protect children from the sexual exploitation that is consuming our culture. Protecting our children is protecting our country.
Very gratefully yours,
ALEXANDRIA C. PHILLIPS
Saved in America’s mission statement is below: