One of the bills on my personal watch list is Senate Bill 540 sponsored by Senator Lauren Book, a bill on human trafficking. After the arrests these past weeks putting human trafficking in the spotlight, it is even more imperative that residents understand and accept just how prevalent this issue is. I am working with the City to look at ways we can ensure that Tamarac is not a haven for traffickers.
Senate Bill 540 would require hotels, motels and resorts to adopt and implement training for their employees in the “identification, prevention and reporting of suspected human trafficking.”
At one meeting I attended about human trafficking, we heard from a survivor who was kept in a hotel room for several weeks when she was about 8 or 9 years old, with men going in and out of the room all day and night. Someone working at the hotel had to see or suspect something, yet no one did anything. It was twenty more years of abuse before this woman got away.
This bill would also create a direct support organization to help fund programs to educate, identify, prevent human trafficking and care for the victims. Here in Broward County, there are very limited resources available for the victims of human trafficking because the treatment for the victims is so different than that for victims of other similar crimes, such as domestic violence.
Senate Bill 540 would be a very positive step in the right direction in dealing with human trafficking. I will keep you informed of the progress of this bill as well.