Combating Human Trafficking in the Bay Area and in Marin County
SB 1193 Poster Project

In spite of what many Americans believe, slavery did not end in 1865. It’s actually the fastest growing criminal activity in the world. Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery in which people profit from exploiting others, AND it’s happening right here in Marin County. The Bay Area is one of the largest hubs for both sex and labor trafficking in the country, and Marin is part of this hub. 

So, how is it that many of us remain unaware of this reality? Traffickers operate in the shadows and are aided by our ignorance. Their captives are often too frightened to ask for help, especially from the police. And, let’s face it—we Marinites like to think we’re immune from such ugliness in this beautiful, privileged county! But it’s time to face this horrific reality and do something about it. 

A dedicated group of Marin residents is doing just that. Last year, the Marin County Coalition to End Human Trafficking was formed to raise awareness and develop a regional and collaborative approach to ending all forms of human trafficking in this area. This January, which is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, the Coalition has plans to get the word out in a number of ways. Its main focus will be getting informational posters into local businesses, like bars and transportation centers, where victims of trafficking may find themselves. These posters contain information that includes a hotline that can help free them from their captors and reclaim their lives. It also can help business owners and customers recognize and report possible trafficking situations. 

This Poster Project is the Coalition’s effort to inform certain businesses that they are required to post this information under a California law passed in 2013 and to provide them with the posters. Senate Bill 1193 enacted Civil Code section 52.6, and specified which businesses are required to display these posters, what information must be included, as well as fines for noncompliance. Unfortunately, the law did not include funding for distribution or enforcement. So instead of adding this task to overburdened police departments, the Coalition will prepare volunteers to spread out across the county and deliver posters to identified businesses. Look for them in your community on January 28, 2017. 

The Coalition is also partnering with Marin Libraries to train staff members on how to recognize possible victims and to provide educational workshops for the public in libraries around the county. The 2017 workshop dates and locations are as follows: 

Thursday, January 19 - San Rafael Library: 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 1 - Novato Library: 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Monday, February 13 - Marin City Library: 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 22 - Pickleweed Library: 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. - SPANISH Workshop 

See article in the Marin Independent Journal, February 20, 2017:

Poster Law: Hidden Problem
Human trafficking campaign to get underway in Marin