California Activists Oppose Bill Increasing Penalities for Sex with Minors

A bill that increases penalties for people who solicit sex from a minor has been met with opposition by California activists.

Under SB 1414, a person who “solicits, or who agrees to engage in, or who engages in, any act of prostitution with the intent to receive compensation, money, or anything of value from another person is guilty of disorderly conduct” could face imprisonment and a fine up to $10,000.

Activists said the bill takes an “overly punitive approach that fails to address the root causes of these issues and will not effectively stop sexual violence.”

The activists added that they are “particularly concerned that the harsher penalties proposed in this bill will disproportionately impact marginalized communities, especially members of the LGBTQ community, who already suffer from systematic biases within the criminal justice system, particularly when it comes to sexually based offenses.”

They explained that LGBTQ people are more likely to be “charged with sex offenses” than straight people. “Measures like SB 1414 lead to higher rates of incarceration, longer sentences, and increased difficulties in finding housing and employment,” the activist added.

Another activist claimed that the bill will marginalize “black and brown individuals who already bear the brunt of systemic biases within our current criminal justice system.”