Human Trafficking

With their eyes on the Super Bowl and WrestleMania, both of which the state will host in 2020, officials are looking for new ways to ensure victims are not trafficked for sex or labor.

During this year’s legislative session, for example, one of the last bills passed would create new requirements for the operation of massage parlors, strip clubs and hotels. Under the bill, strip club owners and operators would be charged with misdemeanors if they do not keep records of their employees’ driver licenses or documents with photo IDs and age verification.

Parts of the bill were tacked on after police accused New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and 24 other men of soliciting prostitution at a Jupiter massage parlor in February. Police initially said the sting was in connection with a human trafficking case, but no charges have been filed.

Still, the demand for prostitution is seen as a “driving force that fuels sex trafficking,” the human trafficking bill says.

To deter pimps and johns, lawmakers voted to create the “Soliciting for Prostitution Public Database,” which lists the names, addresses and color photographs of people who are convicted or plead no contest to soliciting prostitution. Names would be removed after five years if they do not re-offend.

Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez, who serves as vice-chair of the human trafficking panel, said the administration is “very concerned” about preparing for the Super Bowl in 2020 in Miami-Dade County and WrestleMania in Tampa.

Uber says it will hold “numerous training sessions” about human-trafficking issues for its drivers in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. The company is working to provide the sessions in English, Spanish and Creole, as well as offer flexible hours for drivers.

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