FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 30, 2010

GOVERNOR SCHWARZENEGGER SIGNS SUPPLY CHAIN LEGISLATION TO END THE DEMAND FOR SLAVE MADE GOODS IN CALIFORNIA

ASSET and CAST co-sponsor Senate Bill 657by Senator Darrell Steinberg, now signed by the Governor, to give consumers a tool to purchase slave-free products

Governor Schwarzenegger announced today that he has signed Senate Bill 657  by Senator Darrel Steinberg and co-sponsored by the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) and the Alliance to Stop Slavery and End Trafficking (ASSET) to help eliminate the existence of products sold in California that have been made with slave labor throughout any point in their supply chain.  SB 657- better known as the California Supply Chain Transparency Act- gives consumers a tool to get basic information about a company’s efforts to eradicate slave labor and human trafficking from its supply chain by asking large manufacturers and retailers with more than $100 million in gross receipts annually in California to disclose their voluntary efforts to eradicate slavery in their own supply chains.

“Human trafficking is a terrible crime that goes against basic human rights and everything our country stands for,” said Governor Schwarzenegger.  “I am proud that in California, we have enacted some of the toughest laws to punish human traffickers and protect their victims.  This legislation will increase transparency, allow consumers to make better, more informed choices and motivate businesses to ensure humane practices throughout the supply chain.”

CAST’s Executive Director Kay Buck states, “As co-sponsors of SB657 with ASSET and the Consumer Federation of California, we applaud Governor Schwarzenegger for his recognition that there is never a time to turn our back on freedom. As the 10th largest economy in the world, California businesses and consumers alike are uniquely positioned to bring about solutions to decrease and eradicate child and forced labor in supply chains. The California Supply Chain Transparency Act is a significant step to what we hope will be one of many innovative solutions we create in collaboration with the business community and consumers to end slavery- this time for good.”

Flor Molina, a survivor of human trafficking member of CAST’s Survivor Advisory Caucus, comprised of over twenty survivors of trafficking who are now activists in the fight against slavery, stated “During my enslavement in Los Angeles I sewed department stores’ labels on clothes sold in California.  I know this law will help stop the demand for slave made goods.  On behalf of myself, the CAST Survivor Advisory Caucus and all other victims of slavery I want to thank Governor Scharzenegger for signing this bill.”

The California Supply Chain Transparency Act does not attempt to punish companies, but rather provide consumers and businesses alike to better know how products are made.  By providing a mechanism for concerned consumers to be able to compare company efforts on forced labor and human trafficking in their “supply chains”, people can make more informed decisions to spend their hard-earned dollars with the more responsible company.

“With better transparency, Californians can now ensure they do not promote and sanction these heinous crimes through the purchase of everyday items that have tainted supply chains,” Steinberg said.  “This is a simple measure that has the potential to change behavior in a way that will save lives and encourage humane working conditions not just here in California but throughout the world.” 

"As Founder and President of the Alliance to Stop Slavery and End Trafficking (ASSET), a chief organizational sponsor of the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 (SB657), I am deeply grateful to Senator Steinberg for introducing this bill, and to Governor Schwarzenegger for signing this important piece of legislation.  By signing the bill, the Governor has confirmed that California will continue to lead the country in combating slavery and human trafficking.  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." 

The California Supply Chain Transparency Act is expected to help victims of forced labor and human trafficking; consumers wanting to make responsible purchasing choices; investors wanting to make responsible decisions; companies who are acting responsibly by helping them achieve a more level playing field with those who aren’t; and of course, the State of California as a leader in the fight against slavery.

ABOUT THE COALITION TO ABOLISH SLAVERY AND TRAFFICKING:

CAST is the first and only organization in the country dedicated exclusively to assisting trafficked persons. CAST provides direct services to meet the immediate food, shelter, medical and legal needs of trafficked persons.  CAST also conducts advocacy and training to law enforcement, service providers, policymakers and the general public to improve survivors’ access to justice. Since its establishment in 1998, CAST, the largest service provider in the country, has worked with hundreds of survivors of trafficking and trained over 10,000 service providers and law enforcement.  In Spring of 2004, CAST opened the first shelter in the country for survivors of trafficking.  On January 11, 2010, International Human Trafficking Awareness Day, CAST will launch a month long public awareness campaign to let communities know what they can do to fight human trafficking. Visit www.castla.org for a calendar of events.