Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) have introduced a bipartisan piece of legislation known as The Human Trafficking and Exploitation Prevention Training Act. The bill looks to “combat human trafficking by educating students about how to properly identify the warning signs. Children account for more than half of all trafficking victims.”
According to covenantrescue.org, Florida ranks third in the country for human trafficking numbers with Orlando and Miami being the main proponents of the crime.
“Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery,” said Rep. Buchanan. He would go on to mention that “As we close National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we need to prioritize educating students and teachers about the horrors of this monstrous crime. This is critical to helping current victims and preventing future instances of trafficking, which is especially important in hotspots like Florida. I look forward to working with Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz to help spread awareness and protect our most vulnerable.”
The bill looks to create a grant program which provides training for teachers, students, and school employees and personnel “on the warning signs of human trafficking.”
The bill also makes funding for human trafficking nonprofit organizations a priority with $75 million for the grant program over a five-year period.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said, “Schools should be at the center of our strategy to protect young people from human trafficking. In addition to identifying and providing critical services to at-risk youth, they play a crucial role in educating all of us, children and adults, on key warning signs so we are equipped to prevent abductions and abuse. Our education system is one of our greatest strengths, and we must take advantage by providing our schools with the resources to support children who might otherwise fall victim to trafficking."
Should the bill pass in the House of Representatives, it will make its way to the Senate.