State Sen. Toni Atkins. Photo by Chris Stone

State Sen. Toni Atkins this week introduced a bill that would require hotels and motels to train employees on how to recognize the signs of human trafficking and how to report those signs to law enforcement.

“Hotels are ground zero for sex trafficking in this state,” Atkins said. “Sex traffickers are exploiting some of the most vulnerable people in our society, including children.”

Human trafficking is rampant in California, which is home to three cities on the FBI’s list of the top 13 cities for sex trafficking – San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Researchers at the University of San Diego and Point Loma Nazarene University have estimated that as many as 11,000 people in the San Diego region alone could be victimized each year. Often, these crimes go unreported, according to Atkins’s office.

The bill, SB 270, follows SB 230, which is another human-trafficking bill introduced this session by Atkins. SB 230 allows prosecutors – with permission from a judge – to present evidence of a criminal defendant’s past crimes of sex trafficking at trial.

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