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.
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.