Thursday, September 30, 2010

CA Governor signs into law new anti-human trafficking legislation

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced today he has signed SB 657by Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) to help eliminate slavery and human trafficking from product supply chains.

“Human trafficking is a terrible crime that goes against basic human rights and everything our country stands for,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “I am proud that in California, we have enacted some of the toughest laws to punish human traffickers and protect their victims. This legislation will increase transparency, allow consumers to make better, more informed choices and motivate businesses to ensure humane practices throughout the supply chain.”

SB 657 requires major retail sellers and manufacturers doing business in California to disclose their voluntary efforts to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from its direct supply chain for tangible goods offered for sale.

The Governor has long been committed to eliminating the practice of human trafficking and providing protections for victims of illegal trafficking in California, including:

  • Signing AB 17 to increase financial penalties on those convicted of human trafficking by 400 percent and allow law enforcement to seize assets connected to traffickers, which can greatly increase the financial loss for traffickers. Half of what is collected in fines and seizures will also be made available to community-based organizations that serve underage victims of human trafficking.
  • Enacting legislation to establish human trafficking as a crime and increasing the severity of punishment for those that commit or benefit from this crime. One of the bills, AB 22, made human trafficking in California a felony punishable by up to eight years in state prison.
  • Signing legislation to grant further rights to victims of human trafficking and establishing a pilot program to provide standardized training curricula on the sexual exploitation of minors.
  • Enacting AB 1278 which prohibits contracts that siphon future wages in exchange for the costs of transporting an individual to the U.S.
  • Signing a joint statement in 2006 with then-Mexican President Vicente Fox committing to cooperate on border security solutions including combating human trafficking along the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • Signing SB 1569 to extend crucial support services like Medi-Cal and Healthy Families to victims of human trafficking.  
  • Urging greater cooperation among U.S.-Mexico Border States at the XXVI Annual Border Governor’s Conference to put a stop to this human rights violation and increase awareness through a policy forum hosted by First Lady Maria Shriver, entitled "Human Trafficking...A Unified Call to Action." The forum featured experts from the U.S. and Mexico, including leaders in the fields of law enforcement, international human rights, victim assistance and human trafficking survivors who discussed the impact human trafficking has had on the border region and the collaborative solutions needed to fight it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Chinese making huge strides in fighting human trafficking

Beijing – Chinese police freed as of 6 September 10,621 women and 5,896 children abducted for human trafficking since the Public Security Ministry launched a crackdown in April last year. Nationwide, police broke up 2,398 human trafficking gangs and arrested 15.673 suspects, state news agency Xinhua reported.
In order to make it easier to find victims and reunite them with their family, police also set up a database that collects DNA samples of victims and their parents. So far, the database has helped 813 children find their biological parents through DNA matching, the Ministry said.

China’s zero tolerance policy has led to a heavy crackdown on traffickers. Between January and July, 1,238 people were sentenced to either death, life in prison or at least five years in prison, a spokesperson for the Supreme People's Court said. This is 75 per cent more than last year. However, media reports have not indicated how the crackdown has affected the overall problem.

In recent years, media have reported cases involving the abduction of children and the mentally disabled, eventually forced to work, especially in the brick making industry, after being abducted. Police have freed hundreds of such slaves and determined that their captivity was the result of collusion between businesses and local authorities.

Another widespread form of human trafficking is the buying and selling of newborn children, especially for young couples or childless older couples.

In August, Yang Dong, deputy chief of the Criminal Investigation Department, told that the China Daily that between 30,000 to 60,000 children are reported missing every year, but that it is hard to estimate how many of them are trafficking cases.

The situation is especially troubling for the children of migrant workers, who are often handed over to relatives when parents work far from home or even forced to live alone.

Original Story from