Senate Bill 970, signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on September 27, 2018, will require employers in the hotel and/or motel industry to educate their employees on human trafficking awareness.

The state of California has seen extremely high rates of human trafficking complaints since 2017. The data on can be found on the National Human Trafficking Hotline (“NHTH”) website. In fact, California has the highest recorded number of human trafficking cases by state. The second-most, Texas, comes in at nearly half the California number.

Notably, according to the NHTH, of all human trafficking complaints received, hotels and motels are the third most common venue from which complaints arise, following only illicit massage fronts and residentially-based operations. The NHTH believes that hotels and motels are commonly utilized channels for sex-trafficking due to the ease with which they are accessed and based upon a trafficker’s ability to maintain financial secrecy though cash payments.

With this context in mind, California will now require all employers in the hotel/motel industry to provide at least twenty (20) minutes of training and education in human trafficking awareness to employees who are likely to interact and/or come into contact with potential victims. This training should include but not be limited to: (1) the definition of human trafficking; (2) identification of at-risk individuals; (3) sex trafficking within the hotel industry; and, (4) the role of hospitality employees in reporting and responding to suspected human trafficking.

SB 970 goes into effect January 1, 2019. Relevant employees hired after January 1, 2019 must be given this training within six (6) months of their employment. All covered employees, regardless of hire date, must receive this training by January 1, 2020. Additional trainings will also be required once every two (2) years subsequent to January 1, 2020.

The full text of the Bill can be found here. For a printable PDF version of this article, click here.

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