Florida Governor DeSantis Takes Bold Action Against Human Trafficking with New Legislation
Governor Ron DeSantis has taken a strong stance against human trafficking by signing four bills aimed at combating this heinous crime. The decision comes in response to a 50% increase in human trafficking arrests nationwide last year. During a news conference in South Florida, Governor DeSantis emphasized the need to use all available resources to put human traffickers behind bars.
One of the bills, SB 7064, introduces measures to hold adult entertainment establishments accountable for their involvement in human trafficking. It allows victims to seek damages from these establishments and requires increased penalties for exploiting minors. The legislation also mandates that law enforcement recruits receive training in identifying and investigating human trafficking. Additionally, a Statewide Data Repository for Anonymous Human Trafficking Data will be established to centralize information for improved analysis and action.
Another bill, SB 1690, focuses on raising awareness and enhancing protection for vulnerable targets, particularly young children. Hotels will be required to adhere to existing human trafficking awareness laws, while residential treatment centers, safe houses, and safe foster homes must provide age-appropriate programming to educate children about the dangers of trafficking.
HB 1465 addresses the issue of human traffickers possessing or using firearms during their criminal activities. It ensures that these offenders face mandatory minimum sentences, reflecting the severity of their crimes.
SB 1210 safeguards the privacy and confidentiality of human trafficking victims by making their petitions for expunction exempt from public records requirements. This protection allows victims to seek legal recourse and recovery without fear of their personal information becoming public.
The bills were signed in the presence of key officials, including Attorney General Ashley Moody, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, House Speaker Paul Renner, and DCF Secretary Shevaun Harris. Governor DeSantis stressed the importance of providing support and resources to the survivors, acknowledging the unique and traumatic wounds they carry.
The legislation received bipartisan support and aims to address the widespread issue of human trafficking, which often goes unnoticed in communities. With these new measures in place, Florida is sending a clear message that it is dedicated to fighting this abhorrent crime and ensuring the safety and well-being of its residents. The Department of Children and Families (DCF) is committed to enhancing outreach efforts, raising awareness about reporting signs of trafficking, and providing safe homes for victims of all ages.
Governor DeSantis and his administration are taking decisive action to protect vulnerable individuals and punish those who exploit them. By signing these bills into law, Florida is setting an example for other states and sending a resolute message to human traffickers: their actions will not be tolerated, and justice will be served.