Florida Senate - 2018 CS for SB 1044 By the Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs; and Senators Book and Campbell 586-03130-18 20181044c1 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to victims of human trafficking; 3 providing a short title; creating s. 787.061, F.S.; 4 providing legislative findings; defining terms; 5 providing a civil cause of action for victims of human 6 trafficking against a trafficker or facilitator; 7 providing procedures and requirements for bringing a 8 claim; providing for damages, penalties, punitive 9 damages, attorney fees, expenses, and costs; requiring 10 a court to impose civil penalties in certain 11 circumstances; providing for the deposit or 12 distribution of civil penalties; requiring the equal 13 distribution of punitive damages between victims and 14 the trust fund; providing that such actions are 15 subject to specified statute of limitations; providing 16 an affirmative defense for owners or operators of 17 public lodging establishments under certain 18 circumstances; amending s. 772.104, F.S.; specifying 19 that certain provisions concerning civil actions for 20 criminal practices do not apply to actions that may be 21 brought under s. 787.061, F.S.; amending s. 95.11, 22 F.S.; conforming provisions to changes made by the 23 act; providing an effective date. 24 25 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 26 27 Section 1. This act may be cited as the “Civil Cause of 28 Action for Victims of Human Trafficking Act.” 29 Section 2. Section 787.061, Florida Statutes, is created to 30 read: 31 787.061 Civil actions by victims of human trafficking.— 32 (1) FINDINGS.-The Legislature finds that, to achieve the 33 intent of the Legislature relating to human trafficking 34 expressed in s. 787.06(1)(d), it is necessary to provide a civil 35 cause of action for the recovery of compensatory and punitive 36 damages and costs. 37 (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term: 38 (a) “Facilitator” means a person who knowingly, or in 39 willful blindness, assists or provides goods or services to a 40 trafficker which assist or enable the trafficker to carry out 41 human trafficking. The term does not include a person who 42 facilitates human trafficking as a result of force, threat, or 43 coercion. 44 (b) “Human trafficking” has the same meaning as provided in 45 s. 787.06. 46 (c) “Trafficker” means any person who knowingly engages in 47 human trafficking, attempts to engage in human trafficking, or 48 benefits financially by receiving anything of value from 49 participation in a venture that has subjected a person to human 50 trafficking. 51 (d) “Trust fund” means the Trust Fund for Victims of Human 52 Trafficking and Prevention created in s. 787.0611. 53 (e) “Venture” means any group of two or more individuals 54 associated in fact, whether or not a legal entity. 55 (f) “Victim of human trafficking” means a person subjected 56 to coercion, as defined in s. 787.06, or by any other means, for 57 the purpose of being used in human trafficking; a child under 18 58 years of age subjected to human trafficking; or an individual 59 subjected to human trafficking as defined by federal law. 60 (g) “Willful blindness” exists when a person has knowledge 61 of information that would raise suspicions in a reasonable 62 person and he or she deliberately refrains from obtaining 63 confirmation of or acting on the information because he or she 64 wants to remain in ignorance, such that knowledge of the facts 65 avoided can reasonably and fairly be imputed to the person who 66 avoided confirming it. 67 (3) CIVIL CAUSE OF ACTION.— 68 (a) A victim of human trafficking has a civil cause of 69 action against the trafficker or facilitator who victimized her 70 or him and may recover damages as provided in this section. 71 (b) The action may be brought in any court of competent 72 jurisdiction, and the standard of proof is a preponderance of 73 the evidence. 74 (c) A victim who prevails in any such action is entitled to 75 recover economic and noneconomic damages, penalties, punitive 76 damages, reasonable attorney fees, reasonable investigative 77 expenses, and costs. 78 1. Economic damages include, but are not limited to, past 79 and future medical and mental health expenses; repatriation 80 expenses, when a victim elects repatriation; and all other 81 reasonable costs and expenses incurred by the victim in the past 82 or estimated to be incurred by the victim in the future as a 83 result of the human trafficking. 84 2. Noneconomic damages are nonfinancial losses that would 85 not have occurred but for the victimization, and include pain 86 and suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, mental 87 anguish, disfigurement, loss of capacity for enjoyment of life, 88 and other nonfinancial losses. 89 (d) The remedies provided in this section are in addition 90 to and cumulative with other legal and administrative remedies 91 available to victims of human trafficking, except that a victim 92 may not recover under both this section and s. 772.104(2). If a 93 parent or legal guardian knowingly or through willful blindness 94 trafficked the victim, facilitated such trafficking, or 95 otherwise participated in the human trafficking of the victim, 96 such parent or legal guardian is not entitled to damages or 97 distributions under this section. 98 (e) If a victim prevails in an action under this section, 99 in addition to any other award imposed, the court shall assess a 100 civil penalty against the defendant in the amount of $50,000. 101 This penalty is in addition to and not in lieu of any other 102 damage award. The civil penalty must be assessed by the court 103 and may not be disclosed to the jury. Proceeds from this civil 104 penalty shall be deposited into the trust fund. 105 (f) If one or more law enforcement agencies rescued the 106 victim or located the property where the abuse or exploitation 107 of a victim or victims occurred, the court must impose a civil 108 penalty against the defendant in the amount of $50,000 and award 109 the penalty to the law enforcement agencies to fund future 110 efforts to combat human trafficking. The court must equitably 111 distribute this civil penalty among the law enforcement 112 agencies. 113 (g) The court shall have specific authority to consolidate 114 civil actions for the same trafficker or facilitator for the 115 purpose of case resolution and aggregate jurisdiction. 116 (h) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, the 117 amount of punitive damages awarded under this section shall be 118 equally divided between the victim and the trust fund. 119 (4) STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS.—The statute of limitations as 120 specified in ss. 95.11(7) and 95.11(9) is applicable to actions 121 brought under this section. 122 (5) AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE.—In any action brought under this 123 section against the owner or operator of a public lodging 124 establishment based on a claim of vicarious liability, it is an 125 affirmative defense to damages recoverable under such claim if 126 the owner or operator proves by the preponderance of evidence 127 that: 128 (a) It required management employees and employees of the 129 establishment reasonably expected to routinely interact with 130 guests to complete an educational program designed to 131 effectively train such employees in the identification, 132 prevention, and reporting of suspected human trafficking within 133 30 days after hiring or by January 1, 2019, whichever occurs 134 later; 135 (b) It had in place an effective employee protocol or 136 employee code of conduct to prevent, detect, and report 137 suspected human trafficking; and 138 (c) Any employee alleged in the action to have been 139 facilitators of, or otherwise participants in, human 140 trafficking, complied with the recommendations and practices 141 suggested or required in the training, protocols, or policies 142 required in this subsection. 143 Section 3. Subsection (4) is added to section 772.104, 144 Florida Statutes, to read: 145 772.104 Civil cause of action.— 146 (4) This section does not apply to a cause of action that 147 may be brought under s. 787.061. 148 Section 4. Subsections (7) and (9) of section 95.11, 149 Florida Statutes, are amended to read: 150 95.11 Limitations other than for the recovery of real 151 property.—Actions other than for recovery of real property shall 152 be commenced as follows: 153 (7) FOR INTENTIONAL TORTS BASED ON ABUSE.—An action founded 154 on alleged abuse, as defined in s. 39.01, s. 415.102, or s. 155 984.03,
orincest, as defined in s. 826.04, or human 156 trafficking, as defined in s. 787.06, may be commenced at any 157 time within 7 years after the age of majority, or within 4 years 158 after the injured person leaves the dependency of the abuser, or 159 within 4 years from the time of discovery by the injured party 160 of both the injury and the causal relationship between the 161 injury and the abuse, whichever occurs later. 162 (9) SEXUAL BATTERY OFFENSES ON VICTIMS UNDER AGE 16.—An 163 action related to an act constituting a violation of s. 794.011 164 or brought pursuant to s. 787.061 involving a victim who was 165 under the age of 16 at the time of the act may be commenced at 166 any time. This subsection applies to any such action other than 167 one which would have been time barred on or before July 1, 2010. 168 Section 5. This act shall take effect October 1, 2018.