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On Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis announced additional actions in Florida to stop human trafficking. The governor will approve $4.9 million in the 2024–2025 budget to expand access to emergency beds for victims of human trafficking and provide additional support staff, as well as establish a $900,000 grant opportunity through the Department of Children and Families to enhance training for law enforcement officers who respond to human trafficking incidents.

“Florida is being proactive about stopping human trafficking,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Though our open southern border invites criminal activity like human trafficking, states can combat it with stronger penalties and increased training for emergency personnel to recognize and respond to trafficking, and today I was pleased to institute those measures in Florida.”

“There is simply no place for human trafficking in the State of Florida. As someone who has been in the fight to combat human trafficking for more than 15 years, I can tell you that Florida has come a long way in combating this pervasive evil and is a recognized leader across the nation,” said Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez. “Today’s announcement reaffirms that Florida continues to lead the way in investing in prevention, enhancing training, and providing meaningful services that will help victims get back on their feet and start to rebuild their lives again with dignity and opportunity.”

“Governor DeSantis is a strong ally in our fight to end human trafficking, and I am grateful for the resources Florida is dedicating to helping victims of trafficking become survivors,” said Attorney General Ashley Moody. “I am also excited that our statewide reporting number is being added to mandatory awareness signs across Florida. If you see or suspect human trafficking, call 1-855-FLA-SAFE.”

“Under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, Florida will continue to lead the nation in the fight against human trafficking,” said Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris. “Our Department will continue our work to support survivors, and with the help of our partners will ensure that the right services are available to meet their needs.”

Governor DeSantis also today signed HB 7063, which:

  • Continues the development and coordination of state and local law enforcement and social services response frameworks to fighting trafficking.
  • Requires various public facilities or other establishments which may encounter human trafficking activity to display human trafficking awareness signs with telephone numbers for either the National or Florida Human Trafficking Hotlines, and increases punishments for failure to do so.
  • Requires an entity which contracts with the Florida state government to provide assurances that they do not use coercion for labor or services.
  • Prohibits a minor from being employed by an adult entertainment establishment in any role and increases punishments for those who knowingly violate this law.

Today’s announcement follows legislation signed last month to combat human trafficking and prevent child grooming in the state of Florida, including:

  • HB 305, which expands the evidence that can be presented to a jury in sex-abuse cases where the victim is a minor and increases penalties on those who take part in the sex trafficking of minors.
  • HB 1545, which protects children from grooming activities and other sexual offenses.
  • HB 1131, which establishes a grant program within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to create online sting operations to target sexual predators.
  • HB 1235, which creates stricter guidelines for sex offender registration.
  • SB 1224, which strengthens the role of the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office and implements new training requirements to ensure law enforcement properly assesses a domestic violence situation.

Additionally, last year, Governor DeSantis championed legislation that instituted the death penalty for those convicted of child rape.

Author: Press Release


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