PRESS RELEASE: Senate Leader Atkins to Kick Off Hearing in San Diego on Labor Trafficking
SAN DIEGO – California Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) this week will give introductory remarks at a Little Hoover Commission hearing to examine the state’s role in identifying and combating labor trafficking.
The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, at the San Diego Central Library, 330 Park Blvd. in San Diego’s East Village. It will take place in the Shiley Special Event Suite. The public and the press are encouraged to attend.
“I thank the commission for holding this hearing in San Diego,” Atkins said. “While this isn’t a problem exclusive to immigrants, our proximity to the international border and the presence of immigrants and asylum seekers makes our region a prime target for predators looking to exploit those who are vulnerable.”
“California has the strongest sex-trafficking laws in the country. Now we must extend that same commitment to justice to victims of labor trafficking,” Atkins added. “But we need to better understand the scope of the problem. This hearing is a great first step toward collecting the information we need to address labor trafficking immediately and appropriately.”
The Little Hoover Commission is California’s independent government oversight agency. This week’s hearing is the initial public hearing of the Commission’s investigation into labor trafficking, which includes the best ways to assist those who have been victimized by this crime. Witnesses will include victim advocates, experts and public policy leaders.
“These cases represent a horrible violation of our state’s law, and of human decency,” said Little Hoover Commission Chairman Pedro Nava. “Our Commission wants to understand fully the nature of this problem, and the ways in which California’s leaders can respond to these cases or prevent them from happening in the first place.”
The Commission anticipates releasing a report on this issue in 2020.
Senate Leader Atkins has long been a proponent of strengthening protections for human trafficking survivors and providing additional tools for prosecutors.
In 2017, she authored Senate Bill 230, which allows district attorneys to introduce evidence of certain past crimes when they’re prosecuting a defendant accused of human trafficking, to show a pattern of preying on victims for their own profit.
In 2018, she authored Senate Bill 970, which requires all California hotels and motels to provide their employees with training on how to recognize the signs of human trafficking and report what they see to law enforcement.
While the hearing is open to the public, the Commission requests that those attending register here.
Toni G. Atkins is President pro Tempore of the California Senate. Having previously served as Speaker of the California Assembly, she began her tenure in the Senate in 2016. As Senator for District 39, she represents the cities of San Diego, Coronado, Del Mar and Solana Beach. Website of President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins: www.senate.ca.gov/Atkins.