SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Human trafficking is an issue that continues to plague California, and people who shared they were trafficked for years gathered on the steps of the State Capitol Tuesday.  

For Odessa Perkins, she told FOX40 that just walking on the sidewalk brings up traumatic memories from her childhood in Bakersfield.

“I was a very little girl. I should have been playing with Barbie dolls,” Perkins said. “When I first started being touched, I was about 4 or 5. I was penetrated between 6 and 7, maybe 8 years old. It’s hard to remember. When I was 13, I started being sold.”

Perkins said she was sold by men who took advantage of her innocence.

“I was made to put on perfume, nice dresses, different things like that, and then I would walk down the street. I had to meet my preparator at different stores. And once at the stores, they would take me to different hotels, and I would do whatever they needed or whatever they asked and that was it,” Perkins said.

But new legislation from state Sen. Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, would change how the law defines human trafficking.

Senate Bill 1042 would define human trafficking as a serious and violent felony and would include it as a strike under the California Three Strikes Law, which could increase jail time for human traffickers.

“We need to make sure that the preparator that committed these horrific crimes against them is locked up and put in prison for the longest time possible,” Grove said.

The senator showcased a sign that read: “Every 30 seconds someone becomes a victim of human trafficking.”

She said that statistic is all the more reason human traffickers need to be put behind bars.

Grove’s bill was co-authored by Sen. Susan Rubio, D-Baldwin Park.

But in the end, the legislation failed to receive majority support in the Senate Public Safety Committee Tuesday afternoon with some arguing that increased jail time is not the answer.

Assembly Member Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, was furious at the result.

“If the politicians in this building fail to pass this bill, they are complicit in sex trafficking,” Patterson said.

Perkins said she is hopeful the bill will come up again in future legislative sessions.

“I’m a survivor, but there was no one there for me. But this bill now will show we can make it, we can get out, we have a voice, and we shall be heard,” Perkins said.