Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 140071
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File Number: 140071 File Type: Resolution Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: R-75-14 Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: URGING RE: HUMAN TRAFFICKING Introduced: 1/10/2014
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 1/22/2014
Agenda Date: 1/22/2014 Agenda Item Number: 11A17
Notes: Title: RESOLUTION URGING THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE TO ADDRESS THE HUMAN TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN BY ENACTING NEW OR STRICTER PENALTIES FOR IMPROPERLY DISCLOSING THE LOCATION OF A FOSTER HOME, SAFE HOUSE, OR GROUP HOME, AND FOR THREATENING OR INTIMIDATING FOSTER HOME PARENTS OR STAFF AT SAFE HOUSES OR GROUP HOMES
Indexes: URGING
Sponsors: Rebeca Sosa, Prime Sponsor
  Jose "Pepe" Diaz, Co-Sponsor
  Audrey M. Edmonson, Co-Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 1/22/2014 11A17 Adopted P
REPORT: County Attorney Robert Cuevas read the foregoing proposed resolution into the record. Commissioner Diaz noted he pulled this item to request to be listed as a co-sponsor. Hearing no further questions or comments, the Board proceeded to vote.

Office of the Chairperson 1/16/2014 Scrivener's Errors
REPORT: On handwritten page 3 in the 5th Whereas clause, reference is made to the Department Of Justice’s Bureau of Judicial Statistics; the agency name is Bureau of Justice Statistics.

County Attorney 1/10/2014 Assigned Michael B. Valdes

Legislative Text


TITLE
RESOLUTION URGING THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE TO ADDRESS THE HUMAN TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN BY ENACTING NEW OR STRICTER PENALTIES FOR IMPROPERLY DISCLOSING THE LOCATION OF A FOSTER HOME, SAFE HOUSE, OR GROUP HOME, AND FOR THREATENING OR INTIMIDATING FOSTER HOME PARENTS OR STAFF AT SAFE HOUSES OR GROUP HOMES

BODY

WHEREAS, human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery where individuals are often sold or forced into sexual exploitation; and
WHEREAS, the reprehensible individuals who profit from this deplorable practice often prey upon and manipulate the most vulnerable in our society, including children; and
WHEREAS, the children used for commercial sex trafficking are, on average, no more than 12-13 years old and are often victims of prior physical, psychological, and sexual abuse, poverty, unaddressed trauma, and/or low self-esteem; and
WHEREAS, a 2001 study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania estimated that between 244,000 and 325,000 children in America are at risk each year of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation; and
WHEREAS, a 2011 report by the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics also found that nearly half of all incidents of sex trafficking in the United States involve victims under the age of 18; and
WHEREAS, the Florida Legislature recently made great efforts to address this issue in 2012 with the passage of both the Florida Safe Harbor Act, Chapter 2012-105, Laws of Florida (HB 99), which provided a more coordinated response to address the child welfare service needs of sexually exploited children, and Chapter 2012-97, Laws of Florida (HB 7049), which increased the penalties for human trafficking; and
WHEREAS, one of the stated goals of the Florida Safe Harbor Act was to severe the bond between sexually exploited children and sex traffickers so that these children could either be reunited with their families or given appropriate foster care; and
WHEREAS, the Florida Safe Harbor Act also established a method to fund the creation of safe houses that would provide advocacy, necessary services, and special living quarters for sexually exploited children; and
WHEREAS, Florida’s Department of Children and Families also has future plans to specifically recruit foster parents for sexually exploited children; and
WHEREAS, a report from the 2012 Fall Term of the Miami-Dade County Grand Jury found that there are certain reforms that can assist in making the state’s ongoing efforts to address the human trafficking of children as effective as possible; and
WHEREAS, one of the report’s suggested reforms was to recognize that there are unique safety concerns when attempting to place sexually exploited children in foster care or safe houses because the child’s former trafficker may try to find them and endanger the child, the foster parent(s), and/or the safe house’s staff; and
WHEREAS, in order to create a system that will better protect these children from any future harm, the state should use all available resources to ensure that these state-funded foster homes and safe houses are safe not only for the children but also for the foster parents and staff who selflessly work to help these children in need,


NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, that this Board:
Section 1. Urges the Florida Legislature to enact new or stricter penalties for improperly disclosing the location of a foster home, safe house, or group home, and for threatening or intimidating foster home parents or staff at safe houses or group homes.
Section 2. Directs the Clerk of the Board to transmit certified copies of the resolution to the Governor, Senate President, House Speaker, and the Chair and members of the Miami-Dade State Legislative Delegation.
Section 3. Directs the County’s state lobbyists to advocate for the issues identified in Section 1 above, and authorizes and directs the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs to include this item in the 2014 State Legislative Package when it is presented to the Board.



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