'A Scourge on Society': DeSantis Signs Human Trafficking Bill, Raises Stripper Age to 21

'A Scourge on Society': DeSantis Signs Human Trafficking Bill, Raises Stripper Age to 21

DeSantis signed a bill raising the stripper age to 21 and addressing the human trafficking issue

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
May 14, 2024

CORAL GABLES, FL—Governor Ron DeSantis signed a sweeping human trafficking bill requiring special hotline numbers to be posted at various businesses and raising the stripper age from 18 to 21.

"Human trafficking is a really serious scourge in our society," DeSantis said at a Monday afternoon press conference. He cited several statistics, explaining that since 2019, 50,000 reports a year have been made using the national human trafficking hotline and the average age for human trafficking victims is just 13—80 percent of whom are girls.

80 percent of the girls who are trafficked are sexually exploited.

DeSantis convened the Coral Gables press conference to sign HB 7063, which makes "important updates to how the state of Florida combats human trafficking," the governor said, referencing that this bill builds off of another measure signed last month, which expands the evidence that can be presented to the jury in child sex abuse cases and increases penalties for child sex traffickers.

Firstly, HB 7063 requires Florida rest stops, service plazas, emergency rooms, massage parlors, and strip clubs to display human trafficking awareness signs with the national or the Florida human trafficking hotline number.

The bill also raises the stripper age from 18 to 21, claiming that strip clubs can fester a dangerous environment ripe for traffickers and trafficking victims.

According to a June finding by the Global Slavery Index, there are 1,091,000 people human trafficking victims living in the United States. That means there are 3.3 victims for every 1,000 people in the country.

Earlier this year, DeSantis signed five other bills targeting pedophiles and potential sex traffickers throughout the state, namely making it a second-degree felony to groom a child and providing a $10 million grant to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to assist in creating online sting operations to track down online pedophiles.

Last year, DeSantis signed off on a first-in-the-nation law authorizing the death penalty for pedophiles.

The governor also announced that he would approve a $4.9 million budget item expanding access to emergency beds for survivors rescued from human trafficking operations.

"We are a united front here saying that we're not gonna just stand idly by and let it happen and that we will fight back," DeSantis said.

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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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