Senate President Bill Galvano has announced the appointment of Sen. Lauren Book and former Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff to the board of directors for a direct-support organization aimed to help survivors of human trafficking.
That support organization was created as part of legislation backed by Book (HB 851) this past Legislative Session. The law’s supporters argue it will help cut down on human trafficking in the state.
“Sen. Book has been a champion of legislation designed to fight human trafficking in a variety of innovative ways that will ensure we both help those impacted and bring perpetrators to justice. I am honored Sen. Book will represent the Senate on this important Board,” Galvano said in a statement Wednesday.
“Likewise, former Sen. Bogdanoff is passionate about eliminating this form of modern-day slavery in our state. She will be a strong and dedicated voice as the Board of Directors begins its important work.”
The organization’s board of directors will contain 13 members and will be set up by the Department of Legal Affairs. The executive director of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will appoint two members. Another three members will be named by the Attorney General.
The House Speaker and Senate President will each name four members. Galvano’s office says his remaining two appointments “will be made at a later date.”
“I am honored to be appointed by President Galvano to the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking Direct-Support Organization Board of Directors,” Book said.
“This work has been some of the most meaningful of my life, and I look forward to continuing to empower and support survivors of human trafficking as we continue to combat this scourge on society and bring perpetrators to justice.”
Book sponsored the Senate version of the legislation that was signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis at the end of June.
The bill also increased training and licensing for certain professions — such as hotel workers and members of law enforcement — restricted license applications for massage parlor owners found guilty of prostitution, and set up a database of pimps and johns in the state.
“The enslavement and exploitation of men, women, and children is simply not acceptable and must be fought with the full force of the law — but to truly eradicate this real-life evil, we must look at the totality of forces at play,” Book added.
“Education for prevention, recognition, and reporting are key, as are support services for brave survivors.”