House bill aims to human trafficking dangers, signs in Florida schools

By Ashley Harding - Reporter, AP Author

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Children in Florida public schools would be taught about the dangers and warning signs of human trafficking under a bill moving in the state House.

A House Education subcommittee voted unanimously Tuesday for the bill sponsored by Democratic Rep. Patricia Williams of Fort Lauderdale. The measure would include human trafficking in the health classes currently taught in Florida public schools.

22 Florida school districts already include human trafficking information in their health classes.

Williams said the course will save lives and prevent many children from becoming victims.

The curriculum would focus on how to recognize and understand human trafficking, as well as child abuse.

According to the Florida Department of Education, these victims are lured with false promises of financial or emotional security. Instead, they are forced or coerced into prostitution, slavery, or other types of forced labor.

In a report released by the Human Trafficking Institute last fall, Florida had 57 federal human trafficking cases in 2017. This is well above the national average of 12. Northeast Florida has 26 cases and was included in the district with the highest number of active criminal cases. 

There are many ways to report human trafficking.

LEARN HOW: Florida Department of Education (FDOE) Human Trafficking

The bill has two more committee stops before it would be ready for a House floor vote.

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