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CS/CS/HB 545 — Human Trafficking

by Justice Appropriations Subcommittee; Criminal Justice Subcommittee; and Rep. Spano and others (CS/SB 784 by Criminal Justice Committee and Senators Flores, Sachs, and Evers)

This summary is provided for information only and does not represent the opinion of any Senator, Senate Officer, or Senate Office.

Prepared by: Criminal Justice Committee (CJ)

The bill (Chapter 2016-24, L.O.F.) reclassifies human trafficking offenses under s. 787.06, F.S., if a person causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to another person and clarifies that a person can be convicted of branding a victim of human trafficking if the branding is for the purpose of committing or facilitating the offense of human trafficking.

The bill also adds human trafficking as a qualifying felony offense for first degree felony murder.

The penalties for a first-time violation of s. 796.06(2), F.S. (renting a space to be used for lewdness, assignation, or prostitution), are increased from a second degree misdemeanor to a first degree misdemeanor. The penalties for a second or subsequent violation are increased from a first degree misdemeanor to a third degree felony.

The bill addresses prostitution and related acts by:

  • Removing minors from being prosecuted for prostitution, lewdness, or assignation under s. 796.07, F.S.;
  • Revising the definition of the term “sexual abuse of a child” in s. 39.01, F.S. (a definition relevant to dependency proceedings), to delete reference to a child being arrested or prosecuted for a violation of any offense in ch. 796, F.S. (prostitution);
  • Specifying that programs offered by faith-based providers may be included in required educational programs on the negative effects of prostitution and human trafficking;
  • Reclassifying a violation of s. 796.07, F.S., to the next degree higher if the place, structure, building, or conveyance that is owned, established, maintained, or operated in violation of the statute is a massage establishment that is or should be licensed under s. 480.043, F.S.; and
  • Adding s. 796.07, F.S., to the list of offenses which requires an emergency order suspending a massage therapist or establishment license and denying an application for a new or renewal massage therapist or establishment license.

Finally, the bill adds the offense of racketeering to the list of qualifying offenses for classification as a sexual predator or sexual offender only if the court makes a written finding that the racketeering activity involved at least one registration-qualifying sexual offense or one registration-qualifying offense with sexual intent or motive.

These provisions were approved by the Governor and take effect October 1, 2016.

Vote: Senate 39-0; House 117-0