Lawmaker lobbies to require human trafficking signs throughout Florida

Graphic courtesy VT human trafficking task force

January 11 has been designated the annual National Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the United States. The purpose is to bring attention to human trafficking — a modern-day slavery.

Human trafficking does not segregate or discriminate. It can affect individuals of any gender, age, race, ethnicity or nationality. It can affect individuals living in poverty and those who are financially  secure.

Florida Senate Bill 652, filed by Senator Janet Cruz (D-Tampa), aims  to bring awareness to human  trafficking by requiring various venues statewide to display a human trafficking public awareness sign in a conspicuous location that is clearly visible to the public and employees.

Increasing public awareness about the dangers and indications of human trafficking is a significant piece of any anti-trafficking methodology. Effective public awareness can prompt illegal human trafficking cases, construct public help for legislatures and communities to act, and ultimately help prevent human trafficking, according to Cruz.

“Over 8,500 victims of human trafficking cases were reported in the United States last year,” according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

“The Department of Transportation shall display a public awareness sign developed under this section in every rest area, turnpike service plaza, weigh station, primary airport, passenger rail station, and welcome center in the state which is open to the public,”  according to SB 652.

Increased public awareness of human trafficking creates the interest and the kindness of forward-thinking allies of law implementation and specialist co-op organizations. Individuals can expand human trafficking case referrals.

The signed are designed to teach citizens how  to contact the task force for help.

“Thank you for the great work you’re doing tackling human trafficking. Thank you for everyone here who’s committed to helping kids, to helping women, to helping men trapped in modern day slavery. It is horrific that this scourge exists. It is shameful that we’re living on planet Earth at a time when millions are trapped in slavery. It is heartbreaking that Texas is a central locus of human trafficking. The University of Texas estimates that in the state of Texas alone, over 300,000 victims of human trafficking are in Texas. That’s an outrage. That is horrific. That is evil. That is wrong,” Cruz said in a release. She said she doesn’t want Florida or any other state to become the next Texas as far as human trafficking is concerned.

Having public awareness signs in different locations will help many people and bring awareness to the many victims.