The Little Hoover Commission, an independent agency that monitors government operations, Monday called for the creation of a California Anti-Human Trafficking Council within the Governor’s office.

The watchdog said in new report that “California must better coordinate efforts to identify victims and help survivors of labor trafficking.”

The report — “Human Trafficking: Coordinating a California Response” — calls for a California Anti-Human Trafficking Council to be established within the Governor’s office. The Council would be tasked with studying the prevalence of labor trafficking, coordinating efforts to fight the crime, and assessing the effectiveness of anti-trafficking efforts, a Commission statement said.

“This is a critical first step in understanding more about this extraordinarily serious crime and strengthening California’s response,” said Commission Chair Pedro Nava.

The statement decried human trafficking as “a modern form of slavery that involves depriving or violating the personal liberty of another person with the intent to obtain forced labor or sex.” Researchers typically divide human trafficking into cases of sex trafficking or labor trafficking or both. The new report focuses on the state’s response to labor trafficking, as opposed to cases that principally involve sex trafficking.

“California is one of the top destination states for human trafficking,” said Commissioner Cynthia Buiza, who chairs the Commission’s subcommittee on the state’s response to human trafficking. “The state can and must do more to respond.”

The Little Hoover Commission is a bipartisan, independent state agency created in 1962. It includes 13 Commissioners appointed by the Governor and legislative leaders. Its mission is to investigate state operations and promote efficiency, economy and improved service.

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