Florida – In a recent press conference held in northern Broward, Governor Ron DeSantis spotlighted the issue of human trafficking.
The conference took place at Coastal Community Church in Lighthouse Point, with key figures such as Attorney General Ashley Moody, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, House Speaker Paul Renner, and Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris in attendance.
During the conference, Governor DeSantis endorsed a series of legislative measures devised to curb human trafficking. A notable provision within these measures authorizes victims of trafficking to initiate a civil lawsuit against their perpetrators, and to claim compensation from adult entertainment venues that may have facilitated their exploitation.
Governor DeSantis stated that this bill serves as a financial deterrent, increasing the risk for potential perpetrators of human trafficking. Further, it allows victims to gain reparation from the proceeds of their trafficker’s confiscated assets.
The bill also intensifies sanctions against adult entertainment establishments involved in the exploitation of minors. The crime, previously classified as a first-degree misdemeanor, will now be considered a third-degree felony. Moreover, law enforcement officers will be mandated to participate in a minimum of four hours of training to improve their ability to identify instances of human trafficking.
Earlier in the week, Governor DeSantis was present at a bill signing at the New College of Florida in Sarasota. Here, he endorsed a controversial measure that forbids colleges and universities from using state or federal funds to sponsor programs or activities that advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion. This also extends to initiatives that engage in political or social activism, as defined by the State Board of Education or the university system’s Board of Governors.
The United Faculty of Florida expressed vehement opposition to the measure during this year’s legislative session, which concluded on May 5. The union’s president, Andrew Gothard, criticized the governor’s approval of the bill, arguing that it demonstrated an “authoritarian approach” to education.
This measure, scheduled to become effective in July, also intends to impose new requirements on core courses provided by colleges and universities. The state education board and the Board of Governors will form joint faculty committees to scrutinize such courses. This review could potentially lead to modifications, such as removal, alignment, realignment, or addition, based on specific criteria.