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House again considers human trafficking curriculum in schools

The bill will be heard Monday by a House panel.

A bill to teach Florida’s students about the dangers of human trafficking is set for its second committee stop Monday.

It will be heard by the House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee.

The bipartisan bill (HB 259) is sponsored by GOP Rep. Rene “Coach P” Plasencia, of Orlando, and Rep. Patricia Williams, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat who also serves as the Ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee.

The legislation would add education on human trafficking to the health education curriculum in public schools, though students would be allowed to opt out with parental permission.

“The human trafficking education portion of the health curriculum must include, but is not limited to, information on the warning signs of human trafficking, terms used by traffickers, red flags that would indicate a trafficker’s malicious intent toward a student, websites that are popular with traffickers, and details on how a student may get help,” according to the bill’s language.

The House PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee already approved the bill unanimously.

The measure was originally slated to move onto the Criminal Justice Subcommittee and the Appropriations Committee.

Instead, the PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee will hear the bill Monday, followed by a final stop before the Education Committee.

State Sen. Perry Thurston, Jr., a Fort Lauderdale Democrat, has filed a companion bill (SB 982). The legislation also sets up a trafficking awareness campaign under the Department of Legal Affairs.

“Such campaigns may include information concerning approaches used by traffickers, warning signs of trafficking, and inappropriate behaviors that should be reported,” reads the legislation.

The department would also set up a toll-free hotline to forward reports of human trafficking incidents to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.

Written By

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.

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