In this recent article, Ian Cummings announces the passing of a new bill that will commit money and resources to fight against sex trafficking in the state of Florida. This is an excerpt from an article in the Herald-Tribune. The source of this article is http://politics.heraldtribune.com/2014/05/03/unanimous-support-trafficking-bill/
“A bill committing money and resources to a fight against sex trafficking passed the Florida Legislature last week with a unanimous vote.
The bill, which creates new services and safeguards to protect victims, will provide the Florida Department of Children and Families with new guidelines to assess victims and provide housing in safe facilities or foster homes — as well as allocate $3 million toward the treatment of victims.
Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, said the sex trafficking legislation had been a priority for leaders in the Florida Legislature.
“Victims of human trafficking all too often return to a life of exploitation at the hands of their traffickers,” Gaetz said. “This legislation will help these emotionally vulnerable children, looking for someone to love and care for them, break the cycle of physical and emotional abuse suffered at the hands of vicious criminals who engage in human trafficking.”
The bill passed the Senate Friday on a 38-0 vote, with Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice and Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, voting for it. It then returned to the House, where another unanimous vote approved a Senate amendment added Thursday.
The amendment added specific requirements for planning and measuring the results of the victim-protection programs, and added funding for DCF services.
“We’ve used this as a mechanism for putting the funding into the child welfare bill,” said the trafficking bill’s sponsor, Gayle Harrell, R-Port St. Lucie.
A package of bills related to sex trafficking have churned through both chambers with bipartisan support.
The action in Tallahassee for specialized treatment for traumatized victims, many of them children, is a response to victim advocates who say trafficking survivors need therapy and care beyond what delinquent juveniles receive in jails or foster children receive in traditional group homes.
The bill briefly ran into trouble earlier in the session, when advocates and some legislators took issue with the inclusion of a so-called “secure safe house” pilot program, which would essentially confine some victims against their will while they receive treatment.
Opponents said that measure would permit jailing of victims, thereby causing them further harm.
But advocates, including Harrell, defended such a facility because a subset of extremely traumatized children are prone to running away, sometimes back to their traffickers.
Harrell ultimately nixed the pilot program, a compromise which opened the way for widespread support of the legislation that will provide an array of services, including a statewide safe house network and specialized treatment for victims.
The bill represents a paradigm shift in Florida and elsewhere, advocates say. Across the nation, laws are being rewritten and police are being retrained to treat so-called “child prostitutes” not as criminals, but as victims of the pimps, traffickers and johns who exploit them.”
This is a significantly shortened excerpt. To read the full article, please visit http://politics.heraldtribune.com/2014/05/03/unanimous-support-trafficking-bill/