Florida’s Legislators, Civil Rights Leaders, Attorneys, and Women’s Organizations Fight Modern Slavery at Florida State Capitol

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Last Monday, the Female Development World Organization (FDWO) stood with elected officials, civil rights leaders, attorneys, and community members representing the National Council of Negro Women Inc.- Metropolitan Dade County Section (NCNW), the Kiwanis Club of Lauderhill, Florida National Organization for Women (NOW), Democratic Women’s Club of Florida and local business owners to garner support for HB159 and SB596. The two bills in the Florida House of Representatives and Senate are twin bills focused on the prevention of human trafficking via the identification of trafficked persons and traffickers. These bills will create community programs, signage, and educate Floridians on the signs of a human trafficker or someone being trafficked, in addition to a new and more effective reporting system. Under this legislation, reports made to the hotline would immediately go to law enforcement agencies for investigation.

At the podium members of the Florida Legislature, Representatives Barrington Russell (D-Lauderhil) and Robert Asencio (D-Miami), and Senator Perry Thurston (D-Ft. Lauderdale), spoke to the press about this growing problem and its impact here in Florida, endorsing and supporting the bills and the FDWO. Representative Russell who filed the bill in the House relayed the alarming statistic that “Florida ranks third in number of Human Trafficking incidents.” He continued stating “The International Labor Organization estimates that forced labor and human trafficking is a $150 billion industry worldwide.” Shocked reporters and media representatives realized that Florida indeed has a local human trafficking problem.

Senator Victor Torres (D-Kissimmee), Former US Attorney Pamela Marsh, Civil-Rights Attorney Benjamin Crump, and former Florida State Senator Maria Sachs (D-West Palm Beach) also attended the conference showing their support for the bill, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I want you to understand that of all the crimes in the world, human trafficking is the number one cash business. More than drugs, more than weapons. The trafficking in human lives,” said Sachs from the podium.

In order to move the bill forward, the community is being asked to call the Chairs of the House and Senate Criminal Justice Subcommittees to demand that the bill be heard to move the process along and send to the Governor to be signed into law.

HB159-House Criminal Justice Subcommittee
Representative Ross Spano, Chair (850) 717-5059

SB596-Senate Criminal Justice Subcommittee
Senator Randolph Bracy, Chair (850) 487-5011

About the FDWO:
Female Development World Organization’s mission is to positively impact the Education, Health, and Social Development of girls and young women across the African Diaspora by aggressively engaging communities, their leaders, organizations, and government representatives to foster increased and consistent awareness of the systemic problems impeding such development across the diaspora and most specifically, in socio-economically challenged communities. Headquartered in Pompano, FL, The Female Development World Organization divides its programming into 3 categories Education, Health, and Social Development, providing access and pathways to higher education, organized sports and competitions, college-educated mentorship, and the exploration of the arts, politics, and STEM projects to facilitate the holistic development of young women across the Diaspora.

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