LOS ANGELES- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today issued a consumer alert to Californians on the availability of critical information about the efforts that certain companies are undertaking to stop and prevent human trafficking and slavery in their product supply chains - in the United States and abroad. In addition, Attorney General Harris today released a guide, The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act: A Resource Guide, to provide businesses with recommendations to develop and refine their disclosures to consumers.
The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act (the Act) requires large retail sellers or manufacturers doing business in California—with annual worldwide gross receipts that exceed $100 million—to provide disclosures about their “efforts to eradicate slavery and trafficking in their direct supply chains for tangible goods offered for sale.” (Cal. Civ. Code, § 1714.43, subd. (a)(1).) The mandated disclosures apply to five specific categories—verification, audits, certification, internal accountability, and training.
By taking the time to read a company’s disclosures before making a purchasing decision, California consumers have another means of holding retail sellers and manufacturers accountable for the integrity of their products.
The Act, the first law of its kind in the nation, enables consumers to distinguish companies that are taking steps to supply the marketplace with products free from the taint of slavery and trafficking. Under California law, a human trafficking crime takes place when a person “deprives or violates the personal liberty of another with the intent to obtain forced labor or services .…” (Cal. Pen. Code, § 236.1, subd. (a).) An estimated 21 million people are victims of forced labor around the globe. These victims work in virtually every industry and across sectors, including manufacturing, agriculture, construction, entertainment and domestic service.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR:
Since the Act is intended to help consumers make informed purchasing decisions, consumers should be aware of the law and know what to look for on company websites. If a company has a website, the required disclosures must be accessible through a “conspicuous and easily understood link” on the company website’s homepage.
Once consumers have gained access to the required disclosures, they can review them before making a purchase. Through a company’s required disclosures, the law entitles consumers to obtain information about:
1. Verification: To what extent, if any, that the retail seller or manufacturer engages in verification of product supply chains to evaluate and address risks of human trafficking and slavery.
2. Audits: To what extent, if any, the retail seller or manufacturer conducts audits of suppliers to evaluate supplier compliance with company standards for trafficking and slavery in supply chains.
3. Certification: To what extent, if any, the retail seller or manufacturer requires direct suppliers to certify that materials incorporated into the product comply with the laws regarding slavery and human trafficking of the country or countries in which they are doing business.
4. Internal Accountability: To what extent, if any, the retail seller or manufacturer maintains internal accountability standards and procedures for employees or contractors failing to meet company standards regarding slavery and trafficking.
5. Training: To what extent, if any, that the retail seller or manufacturer provides company employees and management, who have direct responsibility for supply chain management, training on human trafficking and slavery, particularly with respect to mitigating risks within the supply chains of products.
(Cal. Civ. Code, § 1714.43, subds. (c)(1)-(5).)
The Act provides consumers with a mechanism to use the power of information in the fight against slavery and trafficking. For California consumers, evaluating company disclosures required by the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act is among the best ways to use their voices and wallets to influence supply practices that contribute to the slavery and trafficking problem around the globe.
WHERE TO REPORT SUSPECTED VIOLATIONS OF THE ACT:
The Attorney General has created an online form to accept inquiries and reports related to the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act. Please direct any such inquiries or reports to http://oag.ca.gov/sb657/contact-us or to:
SB 657 Enforcement Reporting
Attention: Civil Rights Enforcement Section
300 S. Spring Street, Suite 1702
Los Angeles, California 90013
WHERE TO REPORT INSTANCES OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING:
If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, please seek help immediately by calling the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or the U.S. Department of Justice Hotline at 1-888-428-7581. For more general information and additional resources, please visit the Attorney General’s Human Trafficking page at http://oag.ca.gov/human-trafficking.