trafficking

Florida may be the next state to pass a bill that allows victims of human trafficking to sue members of the hospitality industry that have turned a blind eye to the crimes committed behind their closed doors. Texas and Pennsylvania have already passed similar legislation, and now, a new bill is passing through the Florida legislature.

While Florida already has legislation that provides victims with the ability and support to sue their traffickers, this new bill headed to the House and Senate would hold hotel owners and management accountable for the crimes committed at their establishments.

Cracking down on this horrific exploitation that primarily victimizes young women and children would target hotel staff or owners that allow traffickers to rent rooms, either knowingly or via “willful blindness.” Complicity can occur when a hotel ignores red flags, including suspicious activity, when other guests complain, or staff members accept kickbacks or agree to not service the room.

However, the bill does offer some protection to businesses, in the form of language that recognizes businesses that have trained employees and created plans for reporting suspicious activity. In addition to training staff and enforcing a no-tolerance policy, hotels can contribute to stamping out sex trafficking by collaborating with TraffickCam and learning more about how the hospitality industry can help.

Senator Lauren Book (D-Plantation) is sponsoring the bill in the Senate and Rep. Ross Spano (R-Dover) is spearheading it in the House.

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Wendy Villielm Associate Underwriter