Governor Rick Scott highlighted efforts Florida is taking to combat human trafficking and help victims of these horrendous crimes. Governor Scott ceremonially signed four bills that raises awareness of the signs of human trafficking, protects survivors from further exploitation and establishes harsher punishment against perpetrators. “As a father and grandfather, I take the safety of Florida’s children and most vulnerable very seriously,” said Governor Rick Scott. “While Florida has a 44-year crime low, even one victim of abuse is too many. I am proud to have signed legislation that takes combative measures against human trafficking. We will continue to do all we can to end human trafficking in our state and help restore those who have been victims of these horrendous crimes.” Governor Scott ceremonially signed the following bills:
HB 369 – Human Trafficking – This bill requires the display of human trafficking public awareness and reporting signs in certain locations.
HB 465 – Human Trafficking – This bill enhances protections for victims of human trafficking and provides enhanced sanctions for a person who solicits another to commit prostitution.
HB 467 – Public Records/Human Trafficking Victims – This bill expands an exemption from public records requirements for criminal intelligence and investigative information that may reveal the identity of human trafficking victims.
HB 469 – Public Records – This bill provides an exemption from public records requirements for the location of facilities serving victims of sexual exploitation and human trafficking.
The Governor also highlighted $2.6 million in the “Keep Florida Working” budget for five safe homes for victims and other service providers located across the state, as well as $250,000 for Selah Freedom and over $2 million for the PACE Centers for Girls. This funding includes three safe homes in the Miami area. “I’m proud that Florida is leading the global fight against human trafficking,” said Lt. Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera. “The funding being committed by the state will help ensure the safety and security of everyone who lives in or visits Florida.” “I want to thank Governor Scott for his efforts to stop human trafficking in Florida and for the additional funds in this year’s budget to help victims’ of this abhorrent crime heal in a safe environment,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi. “The Statewide Council on Human Trafficking will continue to work with Governor Scott and state lawmakers to make Florida a zero-tolerance state for human trafficking.”