human trafficking

MGN Online

A bill aimed at toughening Florida’s human trafficking laws will become law in a few months, following Governor Rick Scott’s signing. It increases the penalties for soliciting another for prostitution.

A bill requiring human trafficking awareness signs be posted at certain businesses and other areas of the state is now headed to the Governor, after receiving final Senate approval.

Laurie Findley's Facebook Page

A Tallahassee high school student has almost single handedly organized a march on the Florida Capitol that takes place on Friday of this week (4/24/15).  She’s actually been a dedicated social activist almost her entire time in high school.

Fighting human trafficking is one of the top issues for U.S. Attorney Pamela Marsh.
Howard Revis via Flickr /

At nine different locations across Tallahassee Thursday, volunteers worked to raise awareness for human trafficking.  And sometimes that means getting into traffic.

News 13 screen shot

The three candidates in Florida’s Attorney General race debated Monday in what is expected to be the only event with all three for this election cycle. Among the topics was a discussion over an amendment that could legalize medical marijuana in the state.

AG Debate: Constitutional Amendment #2

Florida is ranked number three in the U.S. for the number of calls received at the nation’s human trafficking hotline. To curb that trend, state and local officials have worked with lawmakers over the years to put new laws in place. And, a newly-formed council is hatching plans to build on the state’s past progress and propose new legislation for next year.

Capital Report: 08-22-2014

Aug 22, 2014

Here’s the latest on a story we’ve been following for many weeks. Lawmakers, lawyers and the League of Women voters converged on a Leon County Courtroom this week to argue the merits of Florida’s newly revised congressional districts.  Nick Evans reports parties to the case did not see eye to eye in testimony leading up to the judge’s decision.

Florida Channel

Attorney General Pam Bondi hopes to build on past anti-trafficking efforts with her new Statewide Council on Human Trafficking. She led the panel’s first meeting Monday in Tallahassee.

According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, Florida is ranked third in the nation for the number of calls received by the center’s human trafficking hotline.

MGN Online

Governor Rick Scott has signed the final bill delivered to his desk into law Wednesday aimed at helping children with special needs.

The last bill Scott signed into law requires the appointment of an attorney to represent children with special needs, unless they have pro bono representation.

It can only happen if the child with disabilities meets certain criteria, which includes residing in a nursing facility, is developmentally disabled, or a victim of 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.