May 20, 2013

California Requires Human Trafficking Signs for Certain Businesses

Consumer Advertising Law Blog

Continuing its efforts to lead the country both in establishing new requirements to help combat human trafficking and requiring signs in businesses across the state, California now requires certain businesses to post a special notice providing information to potential and actual victims of human trafficking. The new law, S.B. 1193, went into effect on April 1, 2013.

This posting requirement applies to bars, truck stops, massage parlors, job recruitment centers, emergency rooms, and various other establishments that trafficking victims might frequent. It is intended to raise public awareness of the issue and to inform victims or potential victims of trafficking about their rights and about resources available to help them.

There are specific requirements for the notice, which must be 8 1/2 by 11 inches with 16-point font. It must be posted near the public entrance or in some other conspicuous place. It must be posted in both English and Spanish throughout California, but in certain counties, it must be posted in a third widely spoken language (e.g., Chinese in San Francisco). The language requirement and model notices can be found here, and the model notices are here (English) and here (Spanish).

Failure to comply with notice requirements results in a $500 penalty for the first offense and $1000 for subsequent offenses. The Attorney General and certain local prosecutors are authorized to bring an action to impose the penalty, but there is a 30-day cure period following notice of a violation.

Meanwhile, speculation continues about possible enforcement of California's original groundbreaking requirement on human trafficking, the Transparency in Supply Chains Act (S.B. 657), which went into effect on January 1, 2012. As noted previously in this space, many large manufacturers and retailers selling goods into California are required to post on their websites information concerning their efforts to combat human trafficking and other issues in their global supply chains. The threshold for the reporting requirement is low, and covered companies should take steps now to meet the law's requirements if they haven't already done so. California Attorney General Kamala Harris has made the issue of human trafficking a priority, as evidenced by this webpage, which collects information related to efforts on human trafficking and includes her commitment to "a sophisticated response from law enforcement and its partners to disrupt and dismantle" trafficking networks.

© Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP 2013 All Rights Reserved. This blog post is intended to be a general summary of the law and does not constitute legal advice. You should consult with counsel to determine applicable legal requirements in a specific fact situation.

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