Employee Training to Combat Human Trafficking

California has enacted two laws that require certain employers in the hospitality and transit industries to provide employee training to combat human trafficking

The new laws, known as SB 970 and AB 2034, went into effect on Jan. 1, 2019, but give subject employers until Jan. 1, 2020 or 2021 to provide the initial training. Subject employers include hotels, motels, intercity passenger rail stations, light rail stations and bus stations.

Under existing law, these and other employers must also post notices about human trafficking in multiple languages.     

Training to Combat Human Trafficking

Highlights of Training to Combat Human Trafficking

  • Two new California laws require certain employers to provide training on human trafficking to their employees. 
  • The new training requirements apply to hotels, motels and employers that operate intercity rail or bus stations. 
  • These and many other employers, businesses and establishments must also post notices on human trafficking.

Important Dates

January 1, 2020

Training deadline for hotel and motel employees who were hired prior to July 1, 2019 (others must be trained within six months of hire).  

January 1, 2021

Training deadline for intercity rail and bus station employees.

Training to Combat Human Trafficking

What Are Your Action Steps?

Hotels and motels in California should become familiar with SB 970, ensure that their existing employees receive the required training by Jan. 1, 2020, and ensure that any new employees receive the training within in six months of hire.

Employers who operate rail or bus stations in California should become familiar with AB 2034 and ensure that their employees receive the required training by Jan. 1, 2021.

Training Requirements for Hotel and Motel Employees to Combat Human Trafficking

As of Jan. 1, 2019, every hotel and motel (other than bed-and-breakfast inns) that has five or more employees in California must provide classroom or other interactive training and education regarding human trafficking awareness. This training is required for all employees who are likely to interact or come into contact with victims of human trafficking. These include any employees who have recurring interactions with the public, such as those who work in a reception area, perform housekeeping duties, help customers in moving their possessions or drive customers.

Any such, employees who were hired before July 1, 2019, must receive the required training by Jan. 1, 2020. Those hired after July 1, 2019, must receive the training within six months of hire. Each of these employees must also repeat the training at least once every two years.

Training to Combat Human Trafficking Program Requirements

The human trafficking awareness training and education program for hotel and motel employees must be at least 20 minutes long and include, at minimum, the following:

  • The definition of human trafficking and commercial exploitation of children;
  • Guidance on how to identify individuals who are most at risk for human trafficking;
  • The difference between labor and sex trafficking specific to the hotel sector;
  • Guidance on the role of hospitality employees in reporting and responding to this issue; and
  • The contact information of appropriate agencies, including, but not limited to, the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free telephone number (1-888-373-7888) and text line (233733), and the telephone numbers of the appropriate local law enforcement agencies.

The program may also include materials and information provided by the California Department of Justice, the Blue Campaign of the federal Department of Homeland Security, and private nonprofit organizations that represent the interests of victims of human trafficking.

Enforcement

If a hotel or motel fails to comply with these new training requirements, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing may seek a court order requiring compliance.

Training to Combat Human Trafficking

Training Requirements for Intercity Rail and Bus Station Employees

On or before Jan. 1, 2021, every business or other establishment that operates an intercity passenger-rail station, an intercity light-rail station or a bus station in California (regardless of the number of employees) must provide training on how to recognize the signs of human trafficking and how to report those signs to the appropriate law enforcement agency. This training is required for all employees who may interact with or come into contact with a victim of human trafficking or are likely to receive, in the course of their employment, a report from another employee about suspected human trafficking. Each of these employees, whether existing or new, must receive the required training on or before Jan. 1, 2021.

Program Requirements

The training program for intercity passenger- or light-rail and bus station employees must be at least 20 minutes long and include, at minimum, the following:

  • The definition of human trafficking, including sex trafficking and labor trafficking;
  • Myths and misconceptions about human trafficking;
  • Physical and mental signs to be aware of that may indicate that human trafficking is occurring;
  • Guidance on how to identify individuals who are most at risk for human trafficking;
  • Guidance on how to report human trafficking, including, but not limited to, the national hotline (1-888-373-7888 and text line 233733) and contact information for local law enforcement agencies that an employee may use to make a confidential report; and
  • Protocols for reporting human trafficking when on the job.

The training program may also include information and material utilized in training Santa Clara County Valley Transit Authority employees, the California Department of Justice and private nonprofit organizations that represent the interests of human trafficking victims.

Enforcement

An intercity rail or bus station that fails to comply with the new training requirements may be subject to civil penalties of $500 for a first offense and $1,000 for each subsequent offense.

Posting Requirements for Various Employers

Since 2013, California law has required various businesses and other establishments to post a notice regarding human trafficking in a conspicuous place near the public entrance of the establishment or in another conspicuous location in clear view of the public and employees, where similar notices are customarily posted. As of Jan. 1, 2018, this requirement applies to all:

  • On-sale general public premises licensees under the California Alcoholic Beverage Control Act;
  • Adult or sexually oriented businesses;
  • Primary airports (as defined by federal law);
  • Intercity passenger rail or light rail stations;
  • Bus stations;
  • Truck stops (defined as privately owned and operated facilities that that provide food, fuel, shower or other sanitary facilities, and lawful overnight truck parking);
  • Emergency rooms within general acute care hospitals;
  • Urgent care centers;
  • Farm labor contractors;
  • Privately operated job recruitment centers;
  • Roadside rest areas;
  • Certain businesses or establishments that offer massage or bodywork services for compensation; and
  • Hotels, motels and bed-and-breakfast inns (other than personal residences).

These employers may use the California Department of Justice’s model notice or another notice that meets the requirements outlined in the law. Specifically, the law requires each notice to be at least 8 ½ inches by 11 inches in size and written in a 16-point font and to include the following statement:

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, toll-free, operated by a nonprofit nongovernmental organization, anonymous and confidential, accessible in more than 160 languages, and able to provide help, referral to services, training, and general information.

Finally, the notice must be posted not only in English, but also in Spanish and, if applicable, one other language that is the most widely spoken language in the county where the establishment is located and for which translation is mandated by the federal Voting Rights Act.  

Enforcement

An entity that fails to post the notice as required may be subject to civil penalties of $500 for a first offense and $1,000 for each subsequent offense.

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