Malibu Locals Fight Human Trafficking

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Gary Miller

Two Malibu natives are taking very different paths to fight human trafficking — an international issue especially relevant in Southern California. State Senator Henry Stern has introduced a bill to help combat the issue, while producer Gary Miller is working hard to raise money to help fight the epidemic.

If all goes according to plan, by April 1, 2018, Malibu hotels, motels, inns, B&Bs and transient lodgings (other than personal residences), as well as those in the rest of California, will be required to post human trafficking hotline numbers that the public or victims can call or text to seek help or report unlawful activity. 

It’s already been the law in California since 2013 that hotline numbers, which operate 24/7 and are toll-free, must be posted in businesses such as liquor stores and sex shops, transit hubs, emergency rooms and privately owned job recruitment centers.

The notices must be at least 8.5” x 11” and say, “If you or someone you know is being forced to engage in any activity and cannot leave — whether it is commercial sex, housework, farm work, construction, factory, retail, or restaurant work, or any other activity — call or text the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1.888.373.7888 or the California Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) at 1.888.KEY.2.FRE(EDOM) or 1.888.539.2373 to access help and services. Victims of slavery and human trafficking are protected under U.S. and California law.”

Stern, who represents Malibu in Sacramento, is introducing the updated Human Trafficking bill SB 225 in the wake of a major human trafficking sweep in California a few weeks ago that yielded 474 arrests and identified at least 55 survivors.

ABC/7 reported officers from numerous law enforcement agencies rescued 28 children who were being sexually exploited and offered services to 27 adults they said were victims of sex trafficking.

Sterns’ bill is supported by a coalition of human trafficking groups, including the National Council of Jewish Women CA, the California National Organization for Women, the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST) and Hadassah.

“California, and Los Angeles in particular, are on the front lines of the fight against human slavery and trafficking. Thousands suffer in silence, unsure where to turn for help,” Stern said in a statement provided by his office. “SB 225 will bring us to parity with states like Illinois and Louisiana where hotels and motels have joined the fight.”

“Our research has shown that hotline posting is tied to increased investigation and prosecution of human trafficking crimes,” said Kay Buck, CEO of CAST, in a written statement. “Survivors served by CAST have told us that access to a hotline posting could’ve made all the difference in finding freedom from their traffickers.”

SB 225 was introduced February 2, 2017, and awaits its first committee hearing.

In the meantime, legendary Malibu music producer/composer Miller, who also owns Malibu’s Loud Wavz Studio, decided enough is enough when it comes to human trafficking – especially children – and has initiated a huge fundraising effort through his nonprofit organization Rock Against Trafficking. The recipients of fundraising will be several handpicked nonprofits that provide services to victims, including Unlikely Heroes, Operation Underground Railroad and CAST.

Miller’s list of music production credits include Katy Perry, Andrea Bocelli, Donna Summer, Elton John, Kylie Minogue, Cher and David Bowie, to name a few. It was through his contacts in the music industry that he hit on the idea of producing a fundraising compilation album featuring songs by Sting and The Police performed by various artists. 

The album had a soft release just last week at a fundraising reception held at the Sunset Marquis Hotel, and features contributing artists Slash, En Vogue, Carlos Santana, Glenn Hughes, Heart, Andy Fraser, Journey, Beth Hart, Rob Thomas , Ellis Hall, Keb Mo and Dilana.

The mission of Rock Against Trafficking is twofold – to raise awareness about the issue of human trafficking and the fact that it’s happening right here in the U.S., and to provide support services to child victims.

In a phone interview, Miller was very enthusiastic about all the support he’s been getting from musical artists across the board — so many that he now has corporate sponsors and is planning a world concert tour fundraiser with a variety of talent.

But at the core of it all, Miller is passionate about the cause, citing several horrific examples.

“[Human trafficking] is a movement, and it’s got to be dealt with,” he said. “It’s not one of those things where you can say, ‘Oh, I’ve done my part,’ and then just go on.”

For more info, see rockagainsttrafficking.org/home.