February 20, Orlando, FL
When I was 18, I was pulled over by a police officer and was completely confused as to why. He could tell right away and gently informed me that it is a law to merge into the next lane when a police officer is pulled over on the side of the road. I honestly had no clue and he clearly informed me that my ignorance of the law is not an excuse for not following it.
The same message can be applied to House Bill 167 that will require hotels and motels to receive training on human trafficking and would allow trafficking victims the ability to sue establishments that were complicit in their exploitation. There has been plenty of time and resources available for leaders to take this issue seriously and train their staff how to respond to signs of human trafficking. Industry leaders like Marriott and the American Restaurant and Lodging Association have developed these training programs and made them available.
Even with this training available, 50% of human trafficking cases occur in hotels and motels according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. In some cases, staff are involved and call up to the rooms to let the victims know another buyer is on their way. In the case of Survivor Advocate, Savannah Parvu, at age 11, she was trafficked in a hotel and was clearly suffering from physical abuse but the staff did nothing.
Unlike my innocent lack of knowledge with the police officer, these unscrupulous establishments know they are doing something wrong, yet they continue. They help traffickers profit to sell another hotel room and make a buck. This must stop!
On Wednesday morning, February 21, the Florida Judiciary Committee will decide whether or not House Bill 167 will become state law. Some in the hospitality industry have lobbied against the bill. It is our job to let our representatives know that we support the bill in its ORIGINAL form so that trafficking victims can receive the justice they deserve.
If you’d like, you can read the full bill: STATE: BILL 167- Public lodging
We must contact the members of the Judiciary Committee to let them know we care about human trafficking survivors and support the bill in its original form. Below is a list of the members with their contact information:
- Chris Rowls – Chair – (850) 717-5065 – email
- Shawn Harrison – Vice Chair – (850) 717-5063 – email
- Cynthia A Stafford [D] – (850) 717-5109 – email
- Alexander, Ramon [D] – (850) 717-5008 – email
- Burgess, Jr., Daniel Wright “Danny” [R] – (850) 717-5038 – email
- Byrd, Cord [R] – (850) 717-5011 – email
- Cortes, John [D] – (850) 717-5043 – email
- Diamond, Ben [D] – (850) 717-5068 – email
- Fitzenhagen, Heather [R] – (850) 717-5078 – email
- Geller, Joseph [D] – (850) 717-5100 – email
- Gonzalez, Julio [R] – (850) 717-5074 – email
- Grall, Erin [R] – (850) 717-5054 – email
- Hager, Bill [R] – (850) 717-5089 – email
- Metz, Larry [R] – (850) 717-5032 – email
- Moraitis, Jr., George R. [R] – (850) 717-5093 – email
- Perez, Daniel [R] – (850) 717-5116 – email
- Plakon, Scott [R] – (850) 717-5029 – email
- Pritchett, Sharon [D] – (954) 432-1557 – email
- Slosberg, Emily [D] – (561) 496-5940 – email
- Spano, Ross [R] – (850) 717-5059 – email
- Trumbull, Jay [R] – (850) 717-5006 – email
Not sure what to say? Many times you will get a voicemail or an aid but the messages will get to the representatives. Here’s a simple script for a phone call.
“Hello _____, my name is ___ and I am calling from ______. I care deeply about victims of human trafficking. I am aware that the Judiciary Committee is voting on House Bill 167 tomorrow morning and I would like to encourage Representative ______ to support the bill in its original form. I believe it will help victims in many ways and could significantly help prevent more of this terrible crime from continuing. Thank you!”
Would you rather email? Copy and paste the message below:
I’m asking that you support HB 167 in its original form, with no amendments.
Did you know that according to the National Trafficking Hotline, 50% of human trafficking occurs in local hotels and motels? Hotels make money while young men and women are raped. From what I understand, even some front desk employees call up to the rooms to let the victims know another buyer is coming up.
As you may know, Florida has the 3rd highest number of calls to the National Trafficking Hotline. Men, women, and children are drugged, manipulated, and threatened to perform sex acts with strangers repeatedly. The average age of a victim is 12-13.
Can you imagine being a 12-year-old little girl, too frightened to say anything, praying someone notices your plight?
Imagine your son, daughter or granddaughter in that position. Wouldn’t you want the hotel to do the responsible thing and stop trafficking from happening right then and there? Of course, you would!
Our children’s lives are at stake. Please fight for the rights of those being raped every night and being held as slaves.
They have no voice and desperately need ours.
Please vote yes on HB 167.
We have TODAY to make a difference. Let’s change the world right now!