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Ron DeSantis Approves Additional Funds to Combat Human Trafficking

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis approved $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 state’s Department of Children and Families to enhance training for law enforcement officers who respond to human trafficking incidents.

“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.”

Gov. DeSantis also 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.

DeSantis’ 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.
See also  Florida Man Pleads Guilty To Dealing In Firearms Without A License

“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.”

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  • Florida Daily

    Florida Daily offers news, insights and analysis as we cover the most important issues in the state, from education, to business and politics.

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