New California Laws Target Human Trafficking With Transit, Hotel Workers
LOS ANGELES — Two new California state laws will require workers in certain industries to go through training to identify human trafficking as a package of legislation that advocates expect will help the state address the issue.
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law two new bills aimed at addressing human trafficking on September 27th. The bills require human trafficking awareness training in industries where workers are likely to encounter trafficking victims. The laws are scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019, with training to be complete by 2020 for hotel and motel workers and by 2021 for transit workers.
One of the bills requires transit employees to undergo at least 20 minutes of human trafficking awareness training. The bill would require the state’s bus, rail and light rail intercity transit agencies and businesses to train employees to recognize the signs of human trafficking and how to report possible trafficking to authorities. One measure in the legislation amends existing state law by requiring hotel and motel employers to provide workers with the same type of training.
Ruth Silver-Taube, supervising attorney of the Workers’ Rights Clinic at the Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center, a group that supported the hotel-training bill, said in an email that both laws are expected to result in increased identification of trafficking survivors.
“Given the pervasive nature of human trafficking and the limited ability of law enforcement to identify and intervene in these cases, reporting from people on the ground is a valuable tool to combat the problem and protect survivors of human trafficking,” she said. “Transit workers and hotel workers are in a unique position to identify human trafficking, and the training will arm them with the knowledge and awareness to detect human trafficking.”
According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, California has had the highest number of reported cases of human trafficking in the country over the last six years. Last year, 1,305 cases were reported in California. Besides legislation California has been tackling human trafficking by increasing policing and forming statewide task forces. This January one raid alone lead to the arrest of more than 500 suspects and the rescuing of 56 victims during a statewide crackdown on human trafficking by a task force made up of 85 federal, state, county, and local law enforcement and nonprofit community organizations.
Human trafficking of men, women and children for labor and sex purposes is getting more attention as a serious problem throughout the country and the federal government, several states, and private businesses are stepping up to combat the issue.
The U.S. Department of Transportation is seeking individuals to serve on a special committee that will provide information, advice, and recommendations on matters relating to human trafficking and recommended best practices for state and local transportation stakeholders in tackling the issue.
The U.S. Department of Justice named the state of Kansas as an “originating state” of human trafficking as its own attorney general reported over 475 victims of human trafficking in 2017 alone. Because of this the state signed into law a bill, to take effect this July, that would require all existing holders of and new applicants for commercial driver licenses, such as truckers, have to complete human trafficking training.
Truckers themselves have actively played a role in combating the crime, including creating coalitions like Truckers Against Trafficking, who teach commercial drivers to spot acts of human trafficking during their travels.
Other transportation industries have also worked toward stopping human trafficking. A number of airports post signs encouraging workers and travelers to report activity that could be human trafficking. Jefferson Lines, a Minneapolis-based transit company operating in 14 states, has been training all 210 of its employees to recognize the signs of human trafficking leading to the discovery of multiple cases of the trafficking.
For more information on the new California laws visit the following sites:
For more info on trafficking issues in Kansas visit:
And for more info about the work of Truckers Against Trafficking check out: