Local Organizations Support Lawmakers in Push Against Human Trafficking Epidemic in Florida

TALLAHASSEE – Human Trafficking is on the rise in America. The number of reported cases is over 35% higher between 2016 and 2017 nationally and over 50% higher here in the State Florida; according to The Florida Department of Children and Families.

Lavern Deer Supports Lawmakers in Push Against Human Trafficking Epidemic in Florida

Lavern Deer, Female Development World Organization (FDWO) President

“Human Trafficking is happening right here in our backyard and an increased awareness is needed to prevent this. Children are being trafficked as early as the 6th grade! These are elementary school children, “said Lavern Deer, Female Development World Organization (FDWO) President. 

Human Trafficking Bills

House Bill HB 159 – Control of Human Trafficking, sponsored by State Representative Barrington Russell (D-Lauderhill), 159 will require the Florida State Department of Legal Affairs to develop public awareness campaigns around human trafficking and to establish a toll-free human trafficking reporting hotline.

The companion bill SB 596 is sponsored by State Senator Perry Thurston (D-Fort Lauderdale)

These campaigns are to include the identification of warning signs of trafficking, identification of a trafficked person, and overall increased awareness of human trafficking in the communities that are the most vulnerable. The bills’ provision would come into effect on July 1, 2018 once the bill passes the floor, and is signed by Governor Rick Scott.

However, to make this happen we will have to get through their committees of reference. They are currently in their first stop in the Criminal Justice Subcommittee in both the House and Senate.

Local humanitarian groups including the Female Development World Organization, the Metropolitan Dade County Section National Council of Negro Women Inc., Give Me Dignity Inc., Victor B Williams Founder of Quest2Freedom and Retired Special Agent, ICE/Homeland Security Investigations, Dr. Sue Charitable Foundation Inc. and the Kiwanis Club of Lauderhill have loaned their voices to the support of this bill through the House and Senate Criminal Justice Subcommittees to ensure it makes its way to the floor for a “yes” vote

We are encouraging every member of our Florida community to contact the chair of these committees and to implore them to schedule this desperately necessary bill for a hearing.

Community members are also asked to contact their state legislators as this additional support may help ensure this bill’s success, HB159-House Criminal Justice Subcommittee Representative Ross Spano, Chair (850) 717-5059 and  SB596-Senate Criminal Justice Subcommittee Senator Randolph Bracy, Chair (850) 487-5011.

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