Listen Live
Listen Live

On Air Now

Sunday Gospel Music
Sunday Gospel Music

On Air Next

Brushwood Media Network
Brushwood Media Network

Florida to bolster its anti-human trafficking efforts with new law

SHARE NOW

(The Center Square) — Florida will beef up its efforts to stem human trafficking after legislation was signed into law on Monday.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 7063, a bill that will make important updates on how Florida combats human trafficking and extends the lifetime of the statewide Council on Human Trafficking within the Department of Legal Affairs.

Under the new law, rest area service plazas, emergency rooms, massage parlors, strip clubs or other known human trafficking hotspots will be required to display human trafficking awareness signs with telephone numbers to both the national hotline and Florida’s hotline. Penalties are also being increased for entities who fail to comply.

The bill also requires entities with contracts with the Florida government to provide assurances to the state that they do not use coerced labor and prohibits a minor from being employed by an adult entertainment establishment in any role.

“The Legislature has over the years I’ve been governor, worked with us to combat human trafficking, and this is a really serious scourge in our society, and because we’re a state that’s a destination state…unfortunately that attracts human trafficking,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis said over the past three and a half years the Southern Border has been inundated with illegal migrants crossing into the U.S.. Because of this, the Mexican drug cartels are using this as an opportunity to drive human trafficking.

“So this is a big, big problem for the United States, and it’s a problem that we have worked to tackle in Florida and are continuing today with the announcement,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis stated that since 2019, over 50,000 calls have been made to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. DeSantis pointed out that according to the Department of Justice, the average age of a trafficked individual is 13 years old.

“80% of those trafficked are girls, and of those girls, 80% are subjected to sexual exploitation,” DeSantis said. “We know that that is unacceptable, and we need to continue to work hard and today we’re doing even more to uphold the law, and to go after those who are trafficking these children.”

DeSantis noted that Florida has zero tolerance when it comes to the sexual exploitation of children, as the death penalty can now be given to those convicted of pedophilia in the state of Florida, even though the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed the practice in a 2007 decision in the Kennedy v. Louisiana case.