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Scott puts a spotlight on sex trafficking victims in address

In his State of the State Address, Gov. Rick Scott highlighted human trafficking, saying his Florida Families First budget invests $1.5 million of his $74.2 billion budget to provide safe houses for victims.  

In his speech Tuesday morning, Scott referred to Allison Good, who in a YouTube video describes how she was used for sexual favors and drugged when she was just five years old.

“She eventually came to Florida where she continued to be a victim of trafficking into her early 20s,” said Scott. “Today Allison is a warrior in the battle to end this horrible crime. Allison could not be here today, but we are grateful for the God-given bravery she has to share her story and give a voice to millions of victims who suffer in silence.”

 Scott said he and his wife Ann met Good when they were in Miami last month -– the governor held a press conference then to announce the state was expanding a pilot program that helps identify sex trafficking victims.Florida lawmakers last year passed the Safe Harbor Act to provide therapeutic environments for children and treat them as victims instead of prostitutes.

  A few sex trafficking bills are proposed this session.  Rep. Dave Kerner (D-Lake Worth) has a bill (HB 7005) aimed at preventing “illegal activity, such as human trafficking” in massage parlors, making it a first-degree misdemeanor for massage parlors to operate between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. It doesn’t pertain to massages done in certain places, like a health care facility, or by certain people, including doctors and nurses.

Sen. Eleanor Sobel has proposed the Florida Victim’s Relief Act  (SB 974 – the House companion is HB 967), which protects the confidentiality of a sex trafficking victim.