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October 04, 2010

Human Trafficking Bill Becomes Law in California
    by Robert Kropp

Companies doing business in the state will now be required to disclose whether they have policies addressing human trafficking in their supply chains. -- Last week, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California signed into law SB 657, the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010. Companies with revenues of more than $100 million doing business in the state will now be required to publish on their websites their policies addressing slavery and human trafficking in their supply chains.

Schwarzenegger stated, "Human trafficking is a terrible crime that goes against basic human rights and everything our country stands for. This legislation will increase transparency, allow consumers to make better, more informed choices and motivate businesses to ensure humane practices throughout the supply chain."

The bill was co-sponsored by the nongovernmental organizations Alliance to Stop Slavery and End Trafficking (ASSET) and Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST). Last month, a coalition of investors led by Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS) called on Schwarzenegger to sign the bill, stating in a letter to the Governor, "Given trends in globalization and growing concerns regarding working conditions, labor issues, human trafficking and slavery, investors and other stakeholders will increasingly call for information from companies related to their supply chains."

Julie Tanner, assistant director of socially responsible investing at CBIS, said after the signing, "I applaud the Governor for calling on major retailers and manufacturers to disclose the steps they are taking to combat slavery and human trafficking in their supply chains. Transparency is an important aspect of corporate social responsibility and a critical tool for building trust with investors and the public. By creating and reporting on their standards, policies and implementation measures, companies can strengthen their risk management framework, share good practice with other companies, and help vulnerable workers."

Julia Ormond, an actress and former UN Goodwill Ambassador Against Slavery and Human Trafficking, is the Founder and President of ASSET. She said, "Business has a crucial role to play in ensuring that slave labor and human trafficking do not infect the products we buy. The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 recognizes the role that business can play, and also enables consumers and investors to make informed purchasing and investment decisions."

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