Required-Training-for-California-Hospitality-Staff-to-Identify-Human-Trafficking-Victims.jpg (2149×1159)As of January 1, 2020, California has enacted a very important new regulation for hospitality employers and staff: Mandatory training to identify and assist victims of human trafficking.

The Epidemic of Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is among the most devastating black market industries in the world. Every year, thousands of women, men, and children are forced into labor through trickery, kidnapping, or debt entrapment. They are held in these situations with force and threats and actual physical confinement. Human trafficking occurs in an incredibly wide variety of forms, and not always in those you’d expect including prostitution, forced manual labor, and unpaid domestic servants.

Why the Hospitality Industry?

If there is one single industry that has the greatest chance to notice and save these individuals, it’s the hotel industry. Hotels and motels are frequently used to keep trafficked victims on-the-move so they cannot put down roots, reach out for help, or be detected and rescued. It’s very common to run sex slavery out of a motel or to arrange for semi-anonymous clients to pick up their human purchases in hotels where many people come and go without notice every day.

In particular, sex trafficking is very commonly conducted directly from hotel rooms without the knowledge of the hotel properties. But California is looking to change that.

Those individuals capable of noticing the signs of a human trafficking victim and calling the police are often the very few housekeeping and room service staff who are allowed to see inside the rooms where these victims are kept captive. Front desk staff may also learn how to identify someone who is being brought in against their will, and significant differences in cleanliness or care between two people who seem to be checking in together.

The Hotel Trafficking-Prevention Training Regulations

California Senate Bill No. 970, Chapter 842

Starting January 1st, 2020, all hotel and motel staff in California employed as of July 1, 2019 must be given at least 20 minutes of in-depth training every two years in how to identify the signs of human trafficking and what to do if they suspect that a guest, acquaintance, or even a coworker is a victim of human trafficking.

After 2020 begins, every hotel or motel employee with a remote chance of interacting with trafficking victims is required to be given a minimum of 20 minutes training to identify and report human trafficking.

Employees defined as “likely to interact or come in contact” with human trafficking victims includes but is not limited to employees who work in reception, housekeeping, food service, moving possessions, or driving customers.

Human trafficking awareness includes

Encouragement to Go Beyond Mandated Training and Reporting

The final points of the new bill go on to make sure that hotels are motivated to put as much effort as possible into detecting and reporting human trafficking without penalizing hotels that do not detect a trafficking incident. While hotels are required to provide the mandated minimum training, they are encouraged to train employees in-depth with the materials available so that every member of staff has extensive knowledge on how to detect and rescue a human trafficking victim who is brought on-premises.

Of course, it’s also acknowledged that the nefarious criminals who perpetrate human trafficking do everything they can to keep their victimizations a secret, and mandated training cannot be used to hold hotels liable if trained employees sometimes fail to detect an instance of on-premises trafficking. This way, hotels will confidently report anything they can without fear of reprisal if they do help to uncover an ongoing and previously undetected history of trafficking crimes.

Here at Aiman-Smith & Marcy, our legal team is passionate about protecting the rights of employees and workers, both legally and illegally working in California. Contact us today to find out more about how your hotel can and should be educating staff on human trafficking detection or if you have not been trained but suspect human trafficking and want to help make it stop.

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Lisseth Bayona


Education and Background

I am a Los Angeles native and daughter of Salvadorian immigrants. From an early age, my parents instilled the value of hard work and education in me and my two siblings. Their perseverance enabled each of us to graduate from college and earn professional degrees.

My interest and commitment to workers’ rights have roots in my parents’ experiences as undocumented workers in Los Angeles. Witnessing the challenges they faced inspired me to pursue a career where I can help individuals confronted with similar struggles. To help someone in those moments is very satisfying. I love connecting with people and learning about their stories. I believe that dignity in the workplace is a right of all workers, not a convenience or privilege reserved for employees of a certain race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Legal Experience

I received my J.D. from the University of Southern California (USC) Gould School of Law. While there, I served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Patrick J. Walsh of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, where I drafted a criminal judicial opinion. Also, while at Gould, I served as an extern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. As a Criminal Division Extern, I had the opportunity to work closely with a trial team of Assistant U.S. Attorneys on a money laundering case which further sparked my interest in litigation.

Personal Interests

In my free time, I enjoy urban vegetable gardening, traveling, and spending time with my nephew and niece. I also love to spend time at San Onofre Beach learning to surf, although admittedly, I am not very good.



Hallie L. Von Rock

Attorney (SBN 233152)

Education and Background

I moved to the Bay Area from Washington after graduating high school. I had been accepted to UC Berkeley through a program where I could defer for two years while getting my California residency and attending community college, which was significant since I was paying for college on my own. I began working for Randall Aiman-Smith and Reed Marcy in 1996 as an office manager while taking night classes. My first foray into the legal world was soon after starting at the firm when I was ready to transfer to UC Berkeley. Rather than accepting my resident status, the Board of Regents took the position that California residency required a student to be in California “two calendar years.” Randall and Reed took up my case with the same verve as they helped their actual clients and I got the chance to comb through the UC Berkeley library to read their codes and regulations to support my position. In that experience, I learned what is was like to feel helpless against a big organization and then to have dedicated attorneys in my corner to take up my cause.

After a break to pursue my major in art history, I went to UC Hastings College of Law and continued working with Randall and Reed. Having worked together now for over 25 years, we have a unique ability to work collaboratively and finish each other’s sentences. I have strived throughout my career to make a difference in the lives of our clients. At the end of the day, if I am helping someone to get compensation for losses they suffered, then I know that all the work put into a case has been worth it.

Legal Experience

I have extensive experience in civil litigation and class action cases, including conducting discovery and depositions, calculating damages analysis, preparing motions for certification, writing appellate documents, and overseeing claims administration. We have handled several class actions against retailers where plaintiffs claimed they were forced to purchase clothing to wear to work and were not compensated for these purchases, including against Abercrombie & Fitch, Hugo Boss, Armani Exchange, Uniqlo, Dollar Tree, and Ross. Recently, I was trial counsel in a defamation claim against Bank of America on behalf of a former employee who claimed the Bank blacklisted her with future employers. The jury found Bank of America liable, including for punitive damages.

Personal Interests

Aiman-Smith & Marcy has sponsored me in the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon. When I race, I often wear a “Rockstar Ronan” shirt to support research for childhood cancer through The Ronan Thompson Foundation.


University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1999

Hastings College of the Law, University of California, J.D., 2004

Randall Aiman-Smith

Abogado (SBN 124599)

Aiman-Smith & Marcy. Oakland consumer fraud attorneys.

Educación y antecedentes

Fui afortunado. A pesar de no haber terminado la escuela secundaria o la universidad, pude -aunque con mucho trabajo- ser admitido y sobresalir en una de las mejores escuelas de derecho del país: La Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Berkeley. Mientras estuve allí, tuve el privilegio de ser editor de la California Law Review y miembro del Moot Court Board, asesorando en la redacción de escritos y en la defensa de apelaciones a otros estudiantes. Después de salir de la escuela de derecho, en mis primeros años de práctica, enseñé la escritura legal y la defensa de apelación en la Universidad de California, Hastings College of the Law. También, a lo largo de los años, he sido presentador en eventos de educación legal continua.

Experiencia legal

He sido abogado durante 35 años. He dedicado mi práctica exclusivamente a representar a empleados, consumidores e inversores en los tribunales estatales y federales de primera instancia y en los tribunales de apelación. Me gusta ir a los tribunales por mis clientes y he llevado muchos casos con jurado en los tribunales estatales y federales.

¿Ejemplos? En 2010, fui la abogada principal, junto con los otros abogados del bufete, en el caso Williams v. Union Pacific Railroad donde, después de cuatro años de preparación, el bufete obtuvo un veredicto del jurado de 1.670.000 dólares para una empleada afroamericana. En Rivero v. Surdyka, fui el abogado principal en el juicio y la apelación de un caso de derechos civiles que duró 15 años, incluyendo un juicio completo y tres apelaciones al Noveno Circuito, concluyendo finalmente con una sentencia para los demandantes de más de 2.300.000 dólares. Estos casos ilustran el lema del bufete: compromiso – resultados. Hay que comprometerse con un caso, a veces durante mucho tiempo, para obtener el resultado que el cliente merece.

No siempre ganamos en el juicio. Cuando eso ocurre, el compromiso significa llevar el caso al siguiente nivel y recurrirlo. En el caso Rivero, antes mencionado, eso fue lo que ocurrió: el tribunal desestimó el caso -habíamos perdido- pero apelamos y conseguimos una victoria para nuestros clientes que mantuvimos a través de dos apelaciones más. Desde entonces, el bufete ha conseguido muchas victorias en apelación que reivindican los derechos de los empleados y los consumidores.

A lo largo de los años he sido abogado de los demandantes en numerosos casos individuales y acciones colectivas. Puede sonar cursi, o difícil de creer, pero después de todo este tiempo, y después de todas las grandes experiencias que he tenido, mi parte favorita de ser abogado es cuando consigo dar un cheque a mi cliente.



Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de California, Berkeley, J.D., 1986