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Anti human-trafficking advocates blast Crist for strip-club contributions

Gov. Rick Scott isn't letting go of the fact that his Democratic opponent accepted $90,000 in campaign contributions from strip club owners.

The campaign released a statement Wednesday from three anti-human trafficking advocates blasting Democrat Charlie Crist.

The three advocates -- Kristi House Executive Director Trudy Novicki; Safe and Free Florida President Frances Lee; and Niki Cross, a human trafficking survivor and founder of S.T.A.A.R. Ministry -- said the problem wasn't so much the money, but what it represents.

"Strip clubs devalue women and are often a place of prostitution, drug use and even human trafficking," they said. "Ending human trafficking in Florida won't just happen because of stricter laws. It will happen when we have a cultural change that has zero-tolerance for any mistreatment, abuse or demeaning of women."

(It is worth noting that the past president of the Kristi House Board of Directors is Miami-Dade GOP Chairman Nelson Diaz. In addition, Cross has been featured in a past Scott press release.)

The two gubernatorial candidates have been battling for support from women as the election draws near.

Last week, Crist fired back with an ad saying Scott vetoed money for rape crisis centers. PolitiFact Florida rated the claim mostly false, concluding that the ad failed "to make it clear that funding for rape crisis centers increased under Scott's watch."

Scott has taken some heat on human trafficking, too. A campaign ad this summer highlighted a Cuban-born grocery store owner who who was convicted on human smuggling charges in St. Maarten four years ago. And the governor and his family trusts once invested in a website tied to sex predators

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