FLORIDA: New Bill Creates Signs to Free Sex Slaves – Possible Traffickers Will Have to Post Hot-Line Number

Largo, Florida — Lawmakers are introducing a new bill Thursday designed to reach out to human trafficking victims here in the Tampa Bay area and across Florida.

The bill would require new signs that tell victims how to get help and get rescued.

Business owners would have to put up the signs at truck stops, massage parlors, and other places where human trafficking victims are forced into sex slavery.

The signs would also be mandatory where people may be forced into other kinds of work against their will, like day labor offices and farms that hire temporary workers.

Florida is known around the country as a major hub for human trafficking, and many of the victims are children.

Florida Senate Bill 534 lays out the general wording of the signs, which must be in English, Spanish, and “any other language required by the Attorney General.”

“If you or someone you know is being forced to engage in an activity and cannot leave — whether it is commercial sex, housework, farm work, factory work, retail work, restaurant work, or any other activity — call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 or text INFO or HELP to 233733 (BeFree) to access help and services. Victims of slavery and human trafficking are protected under United States and Florida law.”

State Senator Jack Latvala and Sheriff Bob Gualtieri will announce the bill at 1:30 on Thursday at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

They’ll be joined by members of The Junior League of Clearwater-Dunedin, an all-female organization that has been campaigning for bills like this. Chapters of The Junior League across Tampa Bay have made it a top priority to fight sex slavery and human trafficking.