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Florida: Addressing the Demand Side of Human Trafficking

Human Sex Trafficking Supply-Demand-Distribution
Dr Rajiv Desai Sex Trafficking blog |

Kylie McGivern’s article, “Human Trafficking Bill Would Make Paying For Sex A Felony In Florida,” ABC Action News, WFTS-TV Tampa Bay, 10 Jan 2022, details efforts by Republican State Rep. Jackie Toledo, of Tampa, to enact HB 1439 which If passed would:

  • Prohibit operators of public lodging establishments or vacation rentals from offering hourly rate for accommodation

  • Require guests of public lodging establishments or vacation rentals to provide positive proof of identification to operator at time of occupancy

  • Increase criminal penalties for soliciting or procuring another person to commit prostitution or other specified offenses or purchasing services of person engaged in prostitution by raising the penalty for first-time sex buying from a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony

  • Give sex trafficking survivors the opportunity to make petitions to expunge their criminal history records

In addition, the bill would create a statewide repository for anonymous human trafficking data at the University of South Florida Trafficking in Persons - Risk to Resilience Lab to do the following:

  • Collect and analyze anonymous human trafficking data to better understand the magnitude and trends in human trafficking in the state over time

  • Help evaluate the effectiveness of various state-funded initiatives to combat human trafficking to determine the impact of such initiatives and to use evidence-based decisionmaking in the determination of state investments in such initiatives

  • To inform statewide efforts among law enforcement, state agencies, and other entities to combat human trafficking and apprehend and prosecute those persons responsible for human trafficking

  • To better serve victims of human trafficking through evidence-based interventions that have proven effective

McGivern’s article also discusses efforts by the Justice Restoration Center to expunge trafficking survivors’ records to:

  • Avoid placing survivors at risk from retaliation by traffickers

  • Subjecting survivors to embarrassment and harassment

  • Compromise efforts of law enforcement in investigating traffickers

There are other examples of states addressing the demand side of sex trafficking. For example, Shared Hope International’s Protected Innocence Challenge annual Report and Report Cards, grades each state and the District of Columbia on their efforts to combat child sex trafficking. The Challenge 2021 Report shows Alabama and Texas as the top rated states for Criminal Provisions (Issue 1) which addresses demand (both states received 17 out of a possible 17.5 points - Florida’s grade was 7 points).

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