Legislation authored by Senator Brian W. Jones (R-Santee), based on recommendations of the California Little Hoover Commission and the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, was approved unanimously by the Senate Human Services Committee.
“Foster kids are particularly vulnerable to being targeted by criminals for child labor trafficking,” stated Senator Brian W. Jones. “This measure will require that the family training already provided to foster parents also includes critical information to protect children who have been victims of child labor trafficking or are more likely to become targets of child labor trafficking. Being a foster kid is challenging enough and we need to help prevent the threat of them being forced into child labor trafficking.”
Specifically, Jones’s Senate Bill 584 expands previous legislation (AB 865 by Assemblymember Eloise Gomez Reyes – 2019), which required resource family training to educate foster parents on how to care for children who have experienced, or are at risk of experiencing, commercial sexual exploitation (child sex trafficking). However, the chaptered version of the bill did not include training on child labor trafficking, despite its prevalence in California, specifically among foster youth. SB 584 adds “child labor trafficking” to the list of subjects foster families are required to receive training and information about.
“Passing this bill will further help victims of labor trafficking be seen and be heard,” testified Jamelia Hinds, who was a victim of child labor trafficking from 11 years old until 22 years of age. “Let’s get these children back to being kids.”
“Labor trafficking is a sinister crime, but it can be difficult to detect,” stated Little Hoover Commission Chairman Pedro Nava. “It can be hidden in plain sight, often within businesses or industries that might otherwise be legitimate. SB 584 would advance the Commission’s recommendation by requiring that resource family training include child labor trafficking education in addition to existing requirements for child sex trafficking education.”
SB 584 goes next to the Senate Appropriations Committee for hearing.