Progress on Florida’s Anti-Human Trafficking Front


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Kelly Hayes’ article, “Jackie Toledo’s Human Trafficking Crackdown Bill Heads To House Floor,” Florida Politics, 8 February 2022, provides an update on two (SB 1852 and HB 1439) of five anti-human trafficking bills working in the Florida Legislature. However, her opening and last sentences were not clear (appears the opening sentence was referring to HB 1439 vice SB 1852).

A.G. Gancarski’s article, “Senate Panel Moves To Kill Hourly Rate Hotels, Crack Down On First-Time Johns,” Florida Politics, 8 February 2022, discussed SB 1852 clearing the Regulated Industries Committee with an amendment sponsored by Senator Lauren Book, D-District 32, the chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus. The amendment enhanced penalties for “first-time sex buying” to a third-degree felony, up from current misdemeanor status. The amendment also established a Statewide Data Repository for Anonymous Human Trafficking Data, to be housed in and operated by the University of South Florida Trafficking in Persons-Risk to Resilience Lab. The resulting amendment language essentially lines up SB 1852 and HB 1839 as they progress respectively.

Details from House and Senate Websites

Senate Bill 1852: Hourly Rates at Public Lodging Establishments and Vacation Rentals. Prohibits public lodging establishments (a hotel, motel, vacation rental, non-transient apartment, transient apartment, bed and breakfast inn, or timeshare project) from offering an hourly rate for an accommodation. The Bill was introduced by Senator Jennifer Bradley, R- District 5, on 7 Jan 2022, with an effective date of 1 Jul 2022. The Bill cleared the Regulated Industries Committee (8 Feb 2022 – unanimous support) with the Commerce and Tourism, and Rules committees remaining.

House Bill 1439: Prostitution, Lewdness, Human Trafficking, and Public Lodging. Prohibits public lodging establishment from offering hourly rate for accommodation; increases criminal penalties for soliciting or procuring another person to commit prostitution or purchasing services of person engaged in prostitution; provides for additional court-ordered requirements, minimum mandatory period of incarceration, & civil penalty; provides that human trafficking victim expunction of criminal history records does not apply to specified offenses; removes requirement for specific evidentiary standard when determining human trafficking victim status in absence of official documentation; creates Statewide Data Repository for Anonymous Human Trafficking. HB 1439 was introduced by State Representatives Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, with Co-Introducers Linda Chaney (D-District 69) and Daisy Morales, (D-District 48) on 10 Jan 2022. The Bill passed the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Subcommittee (25 Jan 2022), Commerce Committee (1 Feb 2022), and the Judiciary Committee (8 Feb 2022) and now goes to the House floor.

Related Legislation

House Bill 1441: Human Trafficking Victim Expunction. Provides for future repeal of expanded exemptions; provides for reversion of specified provisions if exemptions are not saved from repeal; provides petition for human trafficking victim expunction and all pleadings and documents related to petition are confidential & exempt from public records requirements; provides for future legislative review and repeal; provides statement of public necessity. HB 1441 was introduced by Rep. Jackie Toledo on 10 Jan 2022 with an effective date on the same date that HB 1439 or similar legislation takes effect. The Bill cleared the Criminal Justice & Public Safety Subcommittee (25 Jan 2022) and the Government Operations Subcommittee (8 Feb 2022) and is now in the Judiciary Committee.

Senate Bill 756: Public Records/Human Trafficking Victims. Expanding an existing public records exemption relating to human trafficking victims seeking expunction of certain records related to an offense listed in s. 775.084(1)(b)1., F.S.; providing for future review and repeal of the expanded exemption; providing for the reversion of specified provisions if the exemption is not saved from repeal; providing 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; providing for future legislative review and repeal of the exemption; providing a statement of public necessity, etc. SB 756 was introduced by Senator Manny Diaz, Jr., R-District 36, and Co-Introduced by Senator Ben Albritton, R-District 32, on 2 Nov 2021, with an effective date of 1 Jul 2022. The Bill cleared the Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee (11 Jan 2022), the Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee (26 Jan 2022), and Rules Committee (3 Feb 2022) all with unanimous support.

Senate Bill 772: Protection of Victims and Witnesses. Revising the standard for orders to protect certain testifying victims and witnesses; prohibiting depositions of certain victims and witnesses in certain proceedings without a showing of good cause; requiring the court to appoint a guardian ad litem or other advocate for the deponent under certain circumstances; requiring the University of South Florida, in consultation with a specified organization, to develop and submit a proposal to the Attorney General for the creation of a unified statewide data repository for anonymous human trafficking data, etc. SB 772 was introduced by Sen. Diaz and Co-Introduced by Senator Keith Perry, R-District 8, on 2 Nov 2021. SB 772 cleared the Children, Families, and Elder Affairs (11 Jan 2022), Judiciary (31 Jan 2022), and Rules (10 Feb 2022) all with unanimous support.

See a few related LinkedIn articles: Florida: Addressing the Demand Side of Human Trafficking; Florida Human Trafficking: More Work to Do

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