Jack Latvala's anti-human trafficking bill moves in Senate panel

Jack Latvala

A bill aimed at shining a light on human trafficking breezed through the Senate Criminal Justice Subcommittee Monday with unanimous approval.

Clearwater Sen. Jack Latvala’s bill requires that signs including the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline and text numbers be posted throughout the state. Those locations include rest areas and welcome centers, airports and bus stations, truck stops, emergency rooms, adult entertainment locations, public schools and libraries, and some privately operated job recruitment centers.

“There is absolutely no reason we should tolerate modern day slavery in our society,” Latvala said. “Florida has the dubious distinction of having the third-highest reported cases of human trafficking in the nation. It’s time we expose and arrest those who prey on victims, and send a strong message that human trafficking must end in Florida.”

There are 25 states that either require or encourage similar sign placement.

The bill is intended to reduce incidents of human trafficking by raising awareness of its occurrence. According to Latvala’s staff, the Florida Department of Children and Families received nearly 1,000 reports of human trafficking during the 2013-14 fiscal year.

Two-thirds of those cases involved the sexual exploitation of a child.

The National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline numbers that would be displayed on the signs under SB 534 are 1-888-337-3888 or the text line, 233-733 which corresponds to the letters Be Free on the keypad.

A comparison bill in the House, HB 369, has moved through several committees and is pending review in the Economic Affairs Committee.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected]


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