Governor Signs Four Bills Into Law to Help Combat Human Trafficking
Lighthouse Point - Tuesday May 16, 2023: Governor DeSantis Tuesday signed four bills into law that aim to combat human trafficking.
"I am signing this legislation to better protect vulnerable children, ensure businesses are taking steps to identify and eliminate trafficking and to give victims a way to fight back against their abusers," said the Governor.
The bills that were signed into law are:
• Supports victims of human trafficking and strengthens penalties for human traffickers
• Establishes a civil action for victims of human trafficking against traffickers and allows victims to recover damages and attorney’s fees from adult entertainment establishments.
• Allows seized property from a human trafficker to be sold and the proceeds to be paid as restitution to victims.
• Requires adult establishments to verify the identity and age of all employees and makes it a third-degree felony for owners or operators of adult establishments that do not retain such records.
• Requires offenders of prostitution, lewdness or related acts to attend an educational course on the impacts of human trafficking and negative impacts of commercial sex on people and their communities.
• Expands human trafficking awareness programs and increases human trafficking victim support
• Cracks down on repeat violators of human trafficking awareness requirements by shortening the cure period for an initial violation from 90 days to 45 days and imposing daily fines for any subsequent violation.
• Requires residential treatment centers for children to place signs on their premises to warn children about the dangers of human trafficking and to demonstrate avenues for reporting instances of human trafficking.
• Mandates the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking to conduct a study and make recommendations regarding the regulation of adult safe houses, which provide housing and care specifically for survivors of human trafficking.
• Ensures security measures for safe houses and safe foster homes include detection of possible trafficking activity, coordination with law enforcement, and emergency response plans to search for absent or missing children.
• Requires safe houses and foster homes to give kids age-appropriate programming to educate them on the signs and dangers of commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking, approved by the Department of Children and Families.
• Makes human traffickers eligible for mandatory minimum sentences when they possess or discharge a firearm during the course of their crimes.
• Provides that a petition for human trafficking victim expunction and all pleadings and documents related to the petition are confidential and exempt from public records requirements.