Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a new anti-Human trafficking bill into law in St. Petersburg Thursday. The law is aimed at helping survivors move on with their lives.
Giselle Rodriguez, of The Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking, said victims of human trafficking sometimes commit crimes, but often it’s a matter of life and death.
“A lot of the clients that I have worked with firsthand have admitted to having to steal things such as food in order to survive,” Rodriguez said.
Moving forward, she said changing perceptions is the foundation to providing justice.
“One of the biggest things that people can do is talk about it – educate others. The more we talk about it the more chances that victims of trafficking will be identified as victims and not lawbreakers,” Rodriguez said.
The law says many victims of human trafficking have pleaded guilty in the past without understanding the consequences of their charges. It creates a way for survivors of trafficking to expunge crimes committed while they were being victimized.