By: James Buechele
July 30, 2015
TALLAHASSEE -- Florida is among the top four states known for human trafficking along with California, New York and Texas. But increased awareness and new laws are trying to lower those numbers.
Governor Scott signed four bills into law today. The issue at hand: human trafficking. Governor Scott announced Thursday as a "good news day."
"None of this would happen but for the advocates that are here the individuals that have been trafficked to stand here talk about it," said Scott.
The laws include harsher punishments for those charged with human trafficking, requiring victim hotlines to be posted in public spots, and not releasing the address of safe houses.
"It's right here at our own doorstep and it's right here locally it's all over the state of Florida and all over the country too," says Jim Russell with the FSU Police Department.
Several recent cases of human trafficking have put the issue in the headlines right here in North Florida. That's why law enforcement officers are tackling the issue.
"It's a crime of violence basically modern day slavery. It's not, it is not a victimless crime and one of the things that law enforcement does is a lot of sting operations," Russell adds.
Governor Scott hopes that by tackling the issue head-on more victims will be able to fight back to put those that hurt them behind bars.
At today's bill signing several statewide organizations also received money to help victims of human trafficking.