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OAKLAND – As part of National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, California Attorney General Rob Bonta today highlighted resources available to businesses and members of the public to help combat human trafficking and support survivors. California law requires certain businesses and establishments to post notices that provide information and resources for survivors and the public regarding human trafficking. The Attorney General urges businesses and members of the public across the state to use these resources to help federal, state, and local authorities and community organizations combat human trafficking in California.
“Every year, there are thousands of reported human trafficking cases across the United States — including right here in California,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “Whether it’s for sex or labor, abusing power to force or coerce someone into doing something against their will is wrong. At the California Department of Justice, we’re committed to standing up for survivors, disrupting and dismantling human trafficking rings, and securing justice. However, it takes all of us to combat human trafficking. I urge businesses across the state to use the resources we’re sharing today to help put an end to trafficking in California. If you or someone you know has been affected by human trafficking, there are resources available to you. You are not alone.”
“Today we are raising awareness about a human rights violation that happens in neighborhoods across California every day of the year,” said Kay Buck, CEO of the Los Angeles-based Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking. “I invite every resident of our state to join us in the fight against human trafficking and our work for systemic change to ensure the rights of survivors. As the state’s largest service provider, we need you as our partners.”
Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery where perpetrators profit from the control and exploitation of men, women, and children for sex or labor through force, fraud, or coercion. Human trafficking does not require movement across borders. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, there were more than 1,300 human trafficking cases reported in California in 2020 — more than any other state in the nation. In California, human trafficking is prevalent in the hospitality, commercial sex, domestic work, and construction industries. Victims of human trafficking are also found among migrant and seasonal agricultural workers, providers of residential care, and in California’s garment sector.
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 more — you can get anonymous and confidential help 24 hours a day, seven days a week in more than 160 different languages. It is also important to remember that California law prohibits law enforcement authorities from asking individuals, including those who are reporting or are victims of potential crimes, about their immigration status, unless the information is necessary to certify the victim for a U visa (victim of crime visa) or T visa (victim of human trafficking visa). If you need help, you can reach out to local authorities and various organizations, including:
Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST)
- Find them online at https://www.castla.org/; or
- Call 1-888-539-2373.
National Human Trafficking Hotline
- Find them online at https://humantraffickinghotline.org/ (Online Chat Available);
- Text 233-733 (Be Free); or
- Call 1-888-373-7888.
The Victims of Crime Resource Center
- Find them online at https://1800victims.org/ (Online Chat Available);
- Text or call 1-800-842-8467; or
- Email 1800VICTIMS@pacific.edu.
The California Department of Justice’s Victims’ Services Unit
- Find them online at https://oag.ca.gov/victimservices;
- Call 1-877-433-9069; or
- Email VictimServices@doj.ca.gov.
Resources such as emergency food and shelter, legal services, and health services can be found on your city or county websites. For those who have been the victim of a violent crime, the California Victim Compensation Board can help cover related bills and expenses.
As a result of Senate Bill 1193 of 2012 and subsequent legislation, California law requires specified businesses and other establishments — including hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast inns — to post a notice informing the public and survivors of human trafficking of telephone hotline numbers to seek help or report unlawful activity. These notices include much of the information provided above. Each mandated business is required to post a notice in English and Spanish and, depending on the county, businesses may be required to post a notice in a third language. Businesses or establishments that are required to post these notices do not need to pay for them. The notices are available for free on the California Department of Justice’s website in English, Spanish, and roughly two dozen other languages.
Through collaboration with federal, state, and local law enforcement partners and community organizations, Attorney General Bonta is committed to disrupting and dismantling human trafficking in California. As part of those efforts, the California Department of Justice operates two regional Human Trafficking and Sexual Predator Apprehension Teams (HT/SPAT) serving Northern and Southern California, the department serves as the lead agency on the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force (SDHTTF), and leads the prosecutions of complex, multijurisdictional, and criminal human trafficking cases across the state. For example, during 2021, HT/SPAT and SDHTTF, in partnership with law enforcement agencies across California, have taken action in nearly all phases of enforcement efforts, including through:
- Assisting in and directly securing hundreds of arrests related to human trafficking and other violations of California’s laws — leading to prosecutions across the state;
- More than 350 on-the-ground address checks of potential suspects and high-risk sex offenders;
- The development of hundreds of investigative leads, conducting suspect and survivor interviews in conjunction with law enforcement partners;
- The execution of more than 150 search warrants; and
- Offering services to hundreds of potential survivors, including juveniles, and engaging in direct outreach with non-profit organizations.
Additional information about and resources regarding human trafficking is available on the California Department of Justice’s website here.