California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has singed two major bills that will help anti trafficking organizations in the fight against human trafficking. The first bill,which was approved on Thursday, SB677, allows courts to seize any property used to facilitate human trafficking. It also imposes civil penalties of up to $25,000.
The second, SB657, requires major retailers and manufacturers doing business in California to disclose on their websites any steps they take to ensure their product supply chains are free of slavery and trafficking.
Both of the bills will be key to help all anti trafficking efforts in California. I especially like SB657, as this will bring some accountability to many of these companies that rely on child slavery to make the products that we all purchase. I am hoping that with this new bill, people throughout the country will realize how much we truly depend on slaves. It is shocking to see how many of our products were made by slaves, mainly children.
So what can we as Floridians do to follow in the footsteps of California. The first thing we need to do is work together. Unfortunately in Florida, there are too many people who have joined the fight against human trafficking for all of the wrong reasons. Once we can all come together, we need to continue educating our family, friends, co workers and others on this issue. And not just the issue of sex trafficking. We need to educate people on human trafficking, which includes labor trafficking, domestic servitude and organ trafficking. Once we have all been educated, we need to contact our state representatives and let them know that more laws need to be passed that will ensure that traffickers will be penalized and that human trafficking survivors will receive any and every service they are entitled to be able to move forward with their lives. We want laws that will ensure that workers in our agricultural , hospitality and medical industries will be protected from being exploited.
I myself have been working in this field for over 3 years. It has been great to see more people become aware of the problem of sex trafficking, but believe me when I say this. We still have a long way to go. So if any in the State of Florida is up for a challenge and wants to join the abolitionist movement, feel free to contact us. I am hopeful that one day the state of Florida will be the leader in the fight against human trafficking!