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Human trafficking is among the world's fastest growing criminal enterprises and is estimated to be a $150 billion-a-year global industry. It is a form of modern day slavery that profits from the exploitation of our most vulnerable populations. One common misperception is that human trafficking requires movement across borders. In reality, it involves controlling a person or group through force, fraud, or coercion to exploit the victims for forced labor, sexual exploitation, or both. This can occur entirely within a single country or it can cross borders. Human trafficking strips victims of their freedom and violates our nation's promise that every person in the United States is guaranteed basic human rights. It is also a crime. Attorney General Becerra is focused on combating the pervasive issue of human trafficking in California and has made it one of his top priorities.
The International Labor Organization estimates that there are more than 24.9 million human trafficking victims worldwide at any time. This includes 16 million victims of labor exploitation, 4.8 million victims of sexual exploitation, and 4.1 million victims of state imposed forced labor. The victims of human trafficking are often young girls and women. Young girls and women are 57.6% of forced labor victims and 99.4% of sex trafficking victims.
In recent years, transnational criminal organizations and affiliated domestic gangs have expanded from drug and firearm trafficking to the trafficking of human beings. In the past, the U.S. Department of State has estimated that 14,500 to 17,500 victims are trafficked into the United States each year. This figure does not include victims who are trafficked within the country each year. California – a populous border state with a significant immigrant population and the world's fifth largest economy – is one of the nation's top destination states for trafficking human beings.
The perpetrators of human trafficking have become more sophisticated and organized, requiring an equally sophisticated response from law enforcement and its partners to disrupt and dismantle their networks. The state of California has taken steps to fight human trafficking, and established guidelines for select businesses to aid in finding victims of human trafficking.
In 2013, the State enacted Senate Bill 1193 (Steinberg), which added Section 52.6 to the California Civil Code. Section 52.6 mandates that specified businesses and other establishments are required to post a human trafficking model notice created by the Attorney General's Office. This model notice must include information related to support and services available to human trafficking victims and be posted in a conspicuous place in full view of the public. In 2017, two additional measures were enacted, Senate Bill 225 (Stern) and Assembly Bill 260 (Santiago). SB 225 required the model notice to include a specified number that victims can text for help, while AB 260 required that hotels, motels and bed and breakfast inns be added to the list of businesses required to post the model notice. In 2018, Assembly Bill 2034 (Kalra) increased access to human trafficking resources by allowing local agencies and school districts to seek reimbursement for certain costs mandated by the model notice posting requirement. In 2019, Senate Bill 630 (Stern) helped provide additional clarity on the role of local governments in adopting and enforcing rules at the local level to prevent slavery or human trafficking.