Henry Stern, 27th District State Senator. Courtesy photo

Governor signs Stern’s Human Trafficking bill

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 630 Wednesday as he and the California Legislature continue to pursue strategies to eliminate human trafficking.

SB 630 was authored by Henry Stern, D-Canoga Park, in an effort to build upon prior bills and to empower communities to fight human trafficking and make it clear that current laws do not prevent a local governing body from acting to prevent slavery or human trafficking, a news release from Stern’s office stated.

“Local knowledge and power are our strongest weapons in the fight against modern slavery,” Stern said in Tuesday’s release. “SB 630 ensures that our laws are tools of justice for our most vulnerable, adding teeth to human trafficking enforcement for those on the frontlines.”

Stern, whose district includes some western portions of the Santa Clarita Valley, added in the release that it was reported in 2015 that the most important provision for increasing the number of human trafficking arrests is the requirement that the National Human Trafficking Hotline number be posted in public places.

As a result, he authored SB 225 in 2017, which required the California Department of Justice to revise its model human trafficking notice to include the option of texting, but not everybody has adhered to the requirements.

Stern believes a lack of clarity around enforcement authority in the current law has left many local governments uncertain as to what lengths they can use to ensure enforcement of the requirements, but the senator said Tuesday that SB 630 will clear the air.

“SB 630 makes SB 1193 even more effective by updating the enforcement provision in the measure, empowering local governments to enact tailored ordinances ensuring compliance with posting requirements,” Tuesday’s release states.

“I want to thank Gov. Newsom and my colleagues in the Legislature for committing themselves to the safety and wellbeing of human trafficking victims,” Stern said, “and I look forward to continuing this fight until we eradicate modern slavery in California.”

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