human trafficking

MGN Online

Governor Rick Scott has signed close to 70 bills into law this week—most of them Friday. They include a slew of gun-related measures, a controversial voucher expansion bill, and a bill dealing with medical marijuana.

Charlotte's Web

Among the high profile bills the Governor has already signed includes a bill that would legalize a low strain of marijuana known as “Charlotte’s Web” to help treat seizures.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

Governor Rick Scott signed three measures into law Tuesday, including two bills looking at strengthening Florida’s human trafficking statutes. At a bill signing at the Capitol, he was joined by agency heads and a couple of state lawmakers. That included Rep. Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart), one of the bills’ authors.

“We have to make sure that we have the services that are available to individuals once they’re identified and come to our attention so that we can make sure that they will heal and they will get through this, and they will go on to become productive citizens,” said Harrell.

D. Sharon Pruit / Flickr Creative Commons

In a continuing effort to stem the tide of human trafficking in Florida, a House panel heard recommendations Wednesday from five different victim services providers from around the state. Proposals include funding more victim-safe houses and creation of a new state department.

Capital Report: 01-31-2014

Feb 3, 2014

Florida Governor Rick Scott has rolled out the lion’s share of his budget recommendations.  They include 500-million dollars in the tax cuts Scott promised, as well as additional proposals to increase spending on areas such as the environment and education. Regan McCarthy reports that’s all while reducing the size of the budget compared to last year.

Florida Channel

Florida lawmakers moved a bill forward Tuesday that would make it illegal for a parent to go through an informal adoption without court supervision. It’s in response to a Reuters investigation that found people who adopted children from overseas sometimes put those same kids up for adoption through online posts. Hollywood Democratic Senator Eleanor Sobel is the main sponsor of the bill.

Capital Report: 08-30-2013

Aug 30, 2013

A hastily-convened summit in Clearwater has education watchers cautiously optimistic that Florida’s varying education factions may have reached a consensus. Lynn Hatter reports The summit, convened by Governor Rick Scott, brought together state and local school officials, lawmakers, teachers  and others for and against school reform policies.

R.Benk / WFSU-News

    

R. Benk / WFSU-FM

Human trafficking is defined as the illegal trade in human beings for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation or forced labor. Although the definition of the practice is straightforward, spotting it is a whole other story. That’s why officials are now offering a special course to help law enforcement spot the signs of human trafficking and stop it. Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Commissioner Gerald Bailey explains what the course contains.

Around the State

Attorney General Pam Bondi is launching a new anti-human trafficking training today in Tallahassee.  Bondi has continually pushed for measures to combat human trafficking in the state.  Ryan Benk reports from the event.

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.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

Florida officials are launching a new effort to teach Florida businesses how to prevent human trafficking in their industry. The initiative spearheaded by Attorney General Pam Bondi targets industries typically associated with the practice, like the hotel and agriculture industries.

Bondi has made ending human trafficking in Florida a major priority. She says the state should have a zero-tolerance policy for what’s called modern-day slavery.

Bill Limiting Massage Parlor Hours Heads To Gov. Scott

Apr 30, 2013

Starting this fall, it will be a crime for massage parlors to stay open all night in Florida, if Gov. Rick Scott signs a bill headed for his desk. The bill regulating massage parlors is aimed at fighting human trafficking. And it passed both legislative chambers unanimously.

When Scott suspended 81 massage therapists for having fraudulent licenses in September, it was because a Clearwater Police investigation had found telltale signs of a human trafficking operation.

R. Benk / WFSU-FM

For the 32nd year in a row, all levels of American government and law enforcement, set aside time to remember victims of crime. Florida officials observed National Crime Victim Rights Week at the Capitol Wednesday.

It’s About Florida: Human Trafficking

Jan 31, 2013

Florida remains a hub of human trafficking, and one area the state is working to crack down on the practice is in massage parlors. The Florida legislature began the effort last year with a bill requiring operators and employees of massage parlors to have valid government-issued IDs. Now a bill has been introduced that would limit the number of hours such places can be open. Today we speak with Dr. Terry Coonan, Director of the FSU Human Rights Center, and Democratic State Representative Dave Kerner, who has sponsored the massage parlor bill.

Florida is known as a hub in the nation for human trafficking. With Human Trafficking Awareness Month coming to a close, lawmakers are continuing efforts to curb the practice, by putting more measures and penalties in place to shut down illegal massage parlors.

“After drugs, humans are the second most trafficked item in the world. And, this is happening right in your own backyard. Who would have ever have guessed some ugliness would ever live among such beauty?"

A bill that would crack down on illegally-operated massage parlors passed unanimously in a House committee Wednesday. A group of Florida lawmakers hope the measure will stop those kinds of places from engaging in prostitution and human trafficking.

Democratic Representative Dave Kerner says he’s heard from law enforcement officers and prosecutors that most prostitution and trafficking activities occur at night, so the bill has measures in place to combat that.

Human trafficking is a 34-billion dollar industry that state, national, and international groups and leaders are hoping to curb. And, one way they’re hoping to address the problem is through an educational two-day forum in Florida called "“Modern Day Slavery: Creating Strategies and Partnerships in Combating Human Trafficking.”

Capital Report: 09-28-2012

Oct 1, 2012

Florida’s voter registration numbers for both Republicans and Democrats stagnated over the course of about a year, and political experts say it’s mainly because of a law passed last year that put limits on third party voter registration. But, now that some of those restrictions have eased, there’s a mad dash around the state to ramp up voter registration drives before the October 9th deadline.

WFSU

The state of Florida is known as a hub for human trafficking. Some experts say it’s one of the most active states in the county for the crime.  Now state leaders are looking for new ways to crack down on the problem

Lawmakers have worked to put more penalties in place for people who get caught in a human trafficking stings. They’re changes Tina Frundt says are a clear step in the right direction.

It’s About Florida: Human Trafficking

Sep 27, 2012

The issue of child trafficking is in the spotlight this week as President Obama and Florida officials respond to growing concerns about underage sex workers and other minors being held against their will . More than 250 concerned state and community leaders and advocates attended the first Florida Children and Youth Cabinet Human Trafficking Summit to learn about trafficking in Florida, what the state is doing to prevent it and what people can do to help victims in their own communities.

Host:
Trimmel Gomes
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Florida Gov. Rick Scott is calling for the state health department to investigate massage therapy schools after it’s been revealed that hundreds of massage therapists obtained state licenses through fraud. Investigators are concerned the illegally licensed massage therapists might be the victims of human trafficking.

Scott has ordered the suspension of 81 massage licenses so far. Some of the women reportedly paid up to $15,000 to get fake college certificates and transcripts, which they submitted to the state during their application. 

Florida State Attorney General Pam Bondi says the law she pushed to crack down on human trafficking is working. Bondi is adding a human trafficking page to her website to show how the state is fighting it.

Bondi says she’s very excited about the results of the state’s human trafficking crackdown after a tougher law went into effect on July 1. Trafficking refers to the crime of moving and enslaving people against their will, often for sex work.  

Florida is a hub for human trafficking, or moving people against their will to be slaves or sex workers. The Florida State Attorney’s Office, law enforcement officers from across the state and Georgia, and several nonprofit groups are meeting this weekend in Tallahassee to learn how to identify victims and fight against traffickers.

The Salvation Army Corp of Tallahassee is sponsoring the seminar because, the group’s Julie Smith says, more than 24,000 people in the U.S. are here against their will. Many of them come through Miami and end up all over Florida, she says.

Capital Report: 02-08-2012

Feb 8, 2012

Today’s (Wednesday’s) Florida House Session was a marathon.  Tom Flanigan reports members kicked things off promptly at a quarter-til-eleven in the morning and were scheduled to plow through the budget process until seven in the evening….

 

House lawmakers spent more time on some issues than others…

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi Wednesday renewed a push for legislation to  end slavery. James Call reports, Bondi says she wants to make Florida a zero-tolerance state for human trafficking.

Law enforcement says Florida is a gateway for human trafficking, ranking behind New York and Los Angeles. The FBI lists Miami, Tampa and Jacksonville among the top 13 metropolitan areas for the sex trafficking of children. 

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