A bill that would expand foster parent training to include info on giving care and supervision to children who have been victims of child labor trafficking was passed unanimously Tuesday in the Senate.
Senate Bill 584, authored by Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee), adds a foster parent requirement that had been previously missed in prior legislation. Assembly Bill 865, a 2019 passed bill that requires counties to include information on providing care and supervision to children who have been commercially sexually exploited as part of the mandatory pre-approval caregiver training, had failed to provide any training on if a foster family receives a child who is a child labor trafficking victim, despite it affecting many foster youth. Senator Jones cited this as the main reason for authoring the bill this year.
“We’ve seen that foster kids in particular are vulnerable to being targeted by criminals for child labor trafficking,” Senator Jones said in a statement on Tuesday. “This legislation 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. Foster kids already face enough challenges and we need to help prevent the threat of them being forced into child labor trafficking.”
The California Little Hoover Commission and the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking applauded the Senate’s 36-0 vote on Tuesday.
“Labor trafficking is a sinister crime, but it can be difficult to detect,” Little Hoover Commission Chairman Pedro Nava said. “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.”
Members from both parties support SB 584, with no registered opposition.
“Child trafficking bills in local, state, or national levels always do well,” said Gil Whaley, a child trafficking researcher who focuses on child trafficking incidents in North and South America. “This is just another example of lawmakers doing the right thing.”
“It looks very bad to vote no on a bill that wants to reduce or end child trafficking. You do that, you give your opponent essentially a free shot at you next election. There’s no reason not to vote for something like the California bill at this point. Stopping child trafficking is one of those issues that any reasonable politician is going to go behind no matter what.”
SB 584 will next be heard in Assembly committees starting later this month.
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