BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    






                             SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE
                           Senator Ellen M. Corbett, Chair
                              2009-2010 Regular Session


          SB 657 
          Senator Steinberg
          As Introduced
          Hearing Date: April 21, 2009
          Civil Code; Government Code
          KB:jd
                    

                                        SUBJECT
                                           
                                  Human Trafficking

                                      DESCRIPTION  

          This bill would, among other things, beginning January 1, 2011,  
          require retail sellers and manufacturers doing business in the  
          state to develop, maintain, and implement policies related to  
          their compliance with federal and state law regarding the  
          eradication of slavery and human trafficking from their supply  
          chain.
           
                                      BACKGROUND  

          Human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation, or  
          sale of people for forced labor.  Through violence, threats, and  
          coercion, these victims are forced to work in, among other  
          things, the sex trade, domestic labor, factories, hotels, and  
          agriculture.  According to the January 2005 U.S. Department of  
          State's Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center report, "Fact  
          Sheet: Distinctions Between Human Smuggling and Human  
          Trafficking," there is an estimated 600,000-800,000 men, women,  
          and children trafficked across international borders each year.   
          Of these, approximately 80% are women and girls and up to 50%  
          are minors.  

          In 2005, the Legislature enacted the California Trafficking  
          Victims Protection Act (AB 22 (Lieber), Chapter 240, Statutes of  
          2005) (Act).  This Act established civil and criminal penalties  
          for human trafficking and allowed for forfeiture of assets  
          derived from human trafficking.  AB 22, along with SB 180,  
          (Kuehl, Chapter 239, Statutes of 2005) also established the  
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          California Alliance to Combat Trafficking and Slavery  
          (California ACTS) Task Force.   The Task Force was charged with  
          conducting a thorough review of California's response to human  
          trafficking and to report its findings to the Governor, Attorney  
          General, and the Legislature.  

          In October 2007, the California Department of Justice released  
          the final report produced by the California ACTS Task Force  
          entitled "Human Trafficking in California," which contained a  
          comprehensive list of findings and recommendations to combat  
          human trafficking.  The report stated, "California bears a moral  
          responsibility to exert leadership, through government and  
          business purchasing practices, to implement and monitor codes of  
          conduct assuring fair and human labor practices throughout their  
          supply chain. "  

          This bill would require the business community to pro-actively  
          prevent forced labor by using their economic leverage to  
          influence human rights abuse practices within their supply  
          chain, and would enhance general awareness among the citizens of  
          the state.   

                                CHANGES TO EXISTING LAW

          Existing federal law  establishes the crimes of kidnapping in  
          interstate or foreign commerce, peonage, slavery and trafficking  
          in persons, and provides for criminal and civil penalties. (18  
          U.S.C. Secs. 1201, 1581-1595.)

           Existing federal law  the Victims of Trafficking and Violence  
          Protection Act of 2000, acknowledges the crime of human  
          trafficking, and delineates various federal actions to combat  
          trafficking, punish perpetrators, and provides services to  
          victims of trafficking.  (22 U.S.C. Sec. 7100 et seq.)

           Existing state law  makes human trafficking a crime.  (Penal Code  
          Sec. 236.1.)

           Existing state law  , the California Trafficking Victims  
          Protection Act, allows a victim of human trafficking to bring a  
          civil action for actual damages, compensatory damages, punitive  
          damages, injunctive relief, or any other appropriate relief.   
          (Civil Code Sec. 52.5.)

           Existing state law  generally regulates various business  
          activities and practices, including those of retail sellers and  
                                                                      



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          manufacturers of products.  

           This bill  would, beginning January 1, 2011, require retail  
          sellers and manufacturers doing business in the state to  
          develop, maintain, and implement policies related to their  
          compliance with federal and state law regarding the eradication  
          of slavery and human trafficking from their supply chain.

           This bill would require that the policy be posted on the retail  
          seller's or manufacturer's Internet Web site and be made  
          available in writing upon request by a consumer. 

           This bill  would require the policy, at a minimum, include these  
          two elements:  (1) that the company and all suppliers in its  
          supply chain will comply with the laws regarding slavery and  
          human trafficking in the countries in which they do business;  
          (2) that where slavery and human trafficking is found in its  
          supply chain, it will seek eradication rather than ceasing  
          business in that area.

           This bill  would exempt retail sellers or manufacturers having  
          less than $2,000,000 in annual sales.

          This bill  would provide that the exclusive remedy for a  
          violation of the bill's provisions shall be an action brought by  
          the Attorney General for injunctive relief, but would not limit  
          remedies that may be sought for violation of other state or  
          federal laws.

          This bill  would establish a nine-member Commission to Combat  
          Slavery and Human Trafficking as a nonprofit public benefit  
          corporation, and requires the commission to be funded privately.  
           The commission would be allowed to accept grants, donations,  
          and funding from any source, and to charge fees to companies  
          using its services. 

           This bill  would establish the commission's duties, which include  
          investigating complaints, training companies in best practices,  
          reviewing company policies and certifying compliance with best  
          practices, and awarding companies for exceptional efforts.

           This bill  would make legislative findings and declarations  
          regarding the eradication of slavery and human trafficking. 

                                        COMMENT
           
                                                                      



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              1.   Stated need for the bill
           
          According to the author, the primary goal of this measure is to  
          highlight the existence of slave-labor and human trafficking  
          throughout California, and to create an opportunity for  
          California retailers and manufacturers to demonstrate leadership  
          in eradicating human trafficking from their supply chains.   
          Additionally, with the information required of businesses, the  
          measure empowers consumers to reward companies that proactively  
          work to eradicate slave-labor and human trafficking.

          2.  This bill seeks to strengthen the state's public policy  
          against human trafficking  

          California, by virtue of its large manufacturing and  
          service-sector industries, global and economic strength, and  
          large immigrant population, is a major destination for human  
          trafficking.  Major industries such as apparel, agriculture,  
          restaurants, and hotels are often targeted by traffickers for  
          forced labor abuses.  Many times these economic sectors are  
          already lacking in adequate labor protections, which further  
          increase the potential for human exploitation.   

          According to the report issued by the California ACTS Task  
          Force, some industries and business owners have adopted codes of  
          conduct that set out minimum labor standards for their suppliers  
          and sub-contractors, thereby using economic leverage to  
          influence labor and human rights practices within their supply  
          chain.  This bill would require all of California's large  
          retailers and manufacturers to make similar efforts to eradicate  
          slavery and human trafficking from their supply chain.    

          Further, by requiring manufacturers and retailers to post their  
          policies on their Internet Web sites or provide written copies  
          upon request, this bill would ensure that consumers are provided  
          with the information necessary to make responsible decisions  
          about their choice in products.  Thus, both businesses and  
          consumers would be in a position to exert their economic power  
          and advocate for social change.

          3.   This bill would make an exemption for small businesses  
           
           In consideration of the ability of the state's small  
          manufacturers and retailers to meet the requirements of this  
          bill, an exemption was created for a retail seller or  
          manufacturer having less than $2,000,000 in annual sales.   
                                                                      



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          However, this exemption does not alleviate small business from  
          actually complying with federal and state law on human  
          trafficking; rather it recognizes that they may not have the  
          same type of ability or resources to exert economic influence on  
          their suppliers as some of their larger counterparts. 

           4.The exclusive remedy for a violation of this bill would be an  
            action brought by the Attorney General for injunctive relief

           An injunction is a remedy in the form of a court order where a  
          party is required to do, or to refrain from doing specific acts.  
           This bill would provide that the exclusive remedy for a  
          violation of its provisions would be an action for injunctive  
          relief brought by the Attorney General.  In light of the fact  
          that this bill seeks to engage the business community to take a  
          leadership role in the fight to eradicate slavery and human  
          trafficking, injunctive relief is arguably an appropriate  
          remedy.  In addition, this bill does not limit any other civil  
          remedies that are available for violations of other state and  
          federal laws relating to slavery and human trafficking.  

              5.   This bill would establish the Commission to Combat  
               Slavery and Human Trafficking
           
          This bill would establish a nine-member commission that would be  
          empowered to investigate complaints about slavery and human  
          trafficking or the failure of a company to have a police  
          compliance with the provisions of this bill.  The commission  
          would create educational and training programs to assist  
          businesses subject to this bill in developing policies to combat  
          slavery and human trafficking.  Also, the commission would be  
          required to report annually to the Governor and the Legislature  
          on its activities, and make recommendations on the  
          implementation of this bill.  The commission would be a  
          nonprofit public benefit corporation and would be privately  
          funded.



              6.   Opposition
             
          In opposition, the California Grocers Association writes:

            While grocers do not support slavery, human trafficking or  
            abusive treatment of workers, the bill poses several  
            difficulties.  SB 657 would require all companies to develop  
                                                                      



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            policies with regard to its entire supply chain, which can  
            include entities far outside the borders of California or the  
            United States.  Grocers do not have the resources to monitor  
            supplier employment practices, nor do they have the authority  
            to enforce state or federal labor law with regard to  
            suppliers.  Further, the bill requires posting of policies on  
            a company's internet web site but provides no details as to  
            what constitutes compliance with the requirement or how it  
            applies to retailers that do not have an internet web site.

           Support  :  Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking; California  
          Teamsters Public Affairs Council; California Labor Federation,  
          AFL-CIO; Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California

           Opposition  :California Grocers Association

                                        HISTORY
           
           Source  :The Alliance to Stop Slavery and End Trafficking

           Related Pending Legislation  :None Known

           Prior Legislation  :

          SB 1649 (Steinberg) of the 2007-2008 legislative session was  
          substantively similar to this bill.  SB 1649 was held in the  
          Assembly Appropriations Committee.   

          SB 180 (Kuehl, Chapter 239, Statutes of 2005) established the  
          California Alliance to Combat Trafficking and Slavery  
          (California ACTS) Task Force.

          AB 22 (Lieber, Chapter 240, Statutes of 2005) established civil  
          and criminal penalties for human trafficking and allowed for  
          forfeiture of assets derived from human trafficking.

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