Human Trafficking: Coordinating a California Response

Report #250, June 2020


California must better coordinate efforts to identify victims and help survivors of labor trafficking, California’s independent government watchdog urges in a new report.

Human Trafficking: Coordinating a California Response,” a new report from the Little Hoover Commission, calls for the creation of the California Anti-Human Trafficking Council within the Governor’s office. The Council would be tasked with studying the prevalence of labor trafficking, coordinating efforts to fight the crime, and assessing the effectiveness of anti-trafficking efforts.

“This is a critical first step in understanding more about this extraordinarily serious crime and strengthening California’s response,” said Commission Chair Pedro Nava.

Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery that involves depriving or violating the personal liberty of another person with the intent to obtain forced labor or sex. Researchers typically divide human trafficking into cases of sex trafficking or labor trafficking or both. The new report focuses on the state’s response to labor trafficking, as opposed to cases that principally involve sex trafficking.

In its report, the Commission examines California’s response to trafficking and highlights the lack of data about the crime. The Commission also provides guidance that would enhance the state’s understanding of trafficking and our ability to fight it.

“California is one of the top destination states for human trafficking,” said Commissioner Cynthia Buiza, who chairs the Commission’s subcommittee on the state’s response to human trafficking. “The state can and must do more to respond.”

Commissioner Dion Aroner, who also served on the labor trafficking subcommittee, noted that the Council will also assess future needs.

“We need to know what resources are being devoted to this fight now, and we need an assessment of the resources that might be needed in the future,” Aroner said.

Nava, Buiza and Aroner wrote about the report in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Written testimony from hearing witnesses can be found in the corresponding event agenda.

Get help: If you believe you may have information about a human trafficking situation, the National Human Trafficking Hotline can help. Call toll-free at 1-888-373-7888 or text at 233-733 (Be Free). If you fear a victim is in immediate danger, please contact 911 to report his/her location to the police.<

Relevant Reports

Labor Trafficking: Strategies to Help Victims and Bring Traffickers to Justice
(Report #252, October 2020)

Labor Trafficking: Strategies to Uncover this Hidden Crime
(Report #251, September 2020)

Level the Playing Field: Put California’s Underground Economy Out of Business
(Report #226, March 2015)

In the News