California continues its trend of championing social justice issues by making human trafficking training a legal requirement for employees in certain industries. The Golden State’s convenient access to international borders often leads to forced labor, commercial sex and other forms of exploitation.
Two new California laws are designed to increase awareness and reporting and target two industries that traffickers must utilize:
The first new law, Senate Bill 970 mandates all hotels and motels in California provide twenty minutes of interactive training to all employees who could potentially interact with/come into contact with victims of human trafficking. The training is meant to ensure hospitality employees can recognize the signs of human trafficking and respond appropriately.
In practical terms, this means hotel and motel management must train reception, housekeeping, and other employees including shuttle drivers who meet the above description. Retraining is then required every two years.
Similar to Senate Bill 970, the transportation industry will be required to comply with Assembly Bill 2034.
AB 2034 also requires twenty minutes of interactive human trafficking training. The training must be provided to all employees who “may interact with, or come into contact with, a victim of human trafficking or who are likely to receive, in the course of their employment, a report from another employee about suspected human trafficking”. In the context of the transportation industry, this includes any employee who operates rail, light rail, and bus facilities and interacts with customers and members of the public. Training must be completed by January 1, 2021.
California is one of the largest sites of human trafficking in the United States. In 2016, 1,330 cases of human trafficking were reported in California. Of those cases, 1,051 were sex trafficking cases, 147 were labor trafficking cases, 46 involved both labor and sex trafficking, and in 86 cases the type of trafficking was not specified.
Assembly Bill 2034 also contains a posting requirement that extends beyond the transportation industry. A plethora of businesses, including bars and night clubs will now be required to display a poster “in a conspicuous place near the public entrance of the establishment or in another conspicuous location in clear view of the public…”
The poster must be 8 ½ inches by 11 inches in size and written in a 16-point font. The posting requirement applies to the following types of businesses:
- On-sale general public premises licensees under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act (bars and night clubs)
- Adult/sexually-oriented businesses
- Intercity passenger rail or light rail stations
- Bus stations
- Truck stops (any privately owned and operated facility that provides food, fuel, shower or other sanitary facilities, and overnight truck parking)
- Emergency rooms within general acute care hospitals
- Urgent care centers
- Farm labor contractors
- Privately operated job recruitment centers
- Roadside rest areas
- Any businesses or establishments that offer massages or bodywork services for compensation
The poster must contain the following information:
If you or someone you know is being forced to engage in any activity and cannot leave—whether it is commercial sex, housework, farm work, construction, factory, retail, or restaurant work, or any other activity—text 233-733 (Be Free) or call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or the California Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) at 1-888-KEY-2-FRE(EDOM) or 1-888-539-2373 to access help and services.
Victims of slavery and human trafficking are protected under United States and California law.
The hotlines are:
- Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Operated by nonprofit, nongovernmental organizations.
- Anonymous and confidential.
- Accessible in more than 160 languages.
- Able to provide help, referral to services, training, and general information.”