Today Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) delivered a letter to the governor urging him to veto Senate 357, a soft-on-crime measure advocated by California Democrats that would hurt California’s ability to combat human trafficking. Click here to download the letter, signed by members of the California Senate Republican Caucus.
Senate Bill 357 (Wiener) would remove a tool frequently used by law enforcement to identify victims of sex trafficking by legalizing loitering with the intent to engage in prostitution, as well as let individuals off the hook who are directing those intending to engage in prostitution.
The measure is opposed by multiple law enforcement and victims groups, including the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC) and the Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition.
“Instead of giving law enforcement more tools to combat human trafficking, California Democrats voted to remove tools from the shed. We are urging the governor to prioritize helping the victims of this horrible crime, not criminals in California,” said Leader Wilk.
Multiple law enforcement groups, including the Democrat California Attorney General Rob Bonta acknowledge the need for a multi-pronged approach to fighting human trafficking.
Attorney General 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 giving law enforcement more tools to combat this serious issue, California Democrats instead voted to hinder law enforcement’s ability to combat human trafficking.
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 to identify those being victimized.
Senate Republicans strongly urge Californians to voice opposition by calling Governor Newsom at (916) 445-2841 to veto SB 357. SB 357 was passed at the end of session in 2021, but after Senate Republican efforts to halt it drew negative attention to the bill, the author chose to hold off on sending it to the governor until now.