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Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, Attorney General Ashley Moody and Rep. Toby Overdorf attended a White House summit on human trafficking.

Federal

Heather Fitzenhagen talks human trafficking at White House summit

She hopes to encourage further federal engagement on the issue next year in Congress.

Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen was on hand at the White House for a  human trafficking summit. The Fort Myers Republican said afterward it’s important for interactions between the state and federal government.

“It’s extremely important,” she said. “Each state needs to do what’s appropriate for state government, but we also need the federal government to work on the overarching fight against human trafficking.”

And that’s an issue she plans to tackle in Washington should she be elected to Congress this fall.

Fitzenhagen and Rep. Toby Overdorf, a Palm City Republican, were both invited to Washington to attend the summit along with Lt. Gov. Jeanette Núñez and Attorney General Ashley Moody, who last month was appointed to the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice.

Fitzenhagen sponsored legislation (HB 851) last year that would increase human trafficking enforcement and public education efforts. She also continues to focus on outreach efforts to better inform the public of the growing threats concerning trafficking. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill into law in June.

While in Washington, Fitzenhagen met with U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, a Missouri Republican working on bipartisan legislation to combat sex trafficking worldwide.

Fitzenhagen said she discussed ways the federal government could improve cybersecurity and web-based investigations. Much of the communication around sex trafficking today happens online, sometimes on the dark web but sometimes across easily accessible channels.

“The federal government has to do more with the internet and these young kids on web sites,” Fitzenhagen said.

The summit as a whole proved valuable in connecting with other leaders and also with people who have seen the consequences of trafficking first-hand. A number of human trafficking victims attended the event, Fitzenhagen said.

President Donald Trump also attended the event and in remarks called trafficking a “form of modern-day slavery here in the United States and all around the world.” He emphasized his administration’s commitment to eradicating the practice worldwide.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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