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Safe Harbor Act Essay

1038 words - 5 pages

In 2012, Florida governor, after approval from the Florida Legislature, signed the Safe Harbor Act into law. The law, effective as of January 1st 2013, was designed to address the issue of human trafficking in the state of Florida. More specifically, the Safe Harbor Act was designed to protect child victims of human trafficking. Additionally, the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), adds that the Safe Harbor Act also protects trafficked children and provides them with help from child welfare professionals rather than simply placing them into juvenile delinquency for prostitution (Florida Department of Children and Families).

Florida in particular is a hotspot for ...view middle of the document...

The Florida Safe Harbor Act, 2012’s House Bill 99, also directly addresses the issue of the trafficking of children by increasing the fines for soliciting prostitutes by ten times, from $500 to $5,000. The law also uses the money collected from these fines in order to provide funding for specific safe houses for children who have in fact been sexually exploited through human trafficking. Additionally, children in these safe houses will each be assigned an advocate, a person who will accompany the child to meetings as well as to court appearances. The safe houses where these children will be staying will give them access to certain services: security, counseling, transportation, food, and clothing, along with both health and dental care (Florida Governor’s Office). Though these “safe houses” will provide only temporary rehabilitation (a stay of thirty days) for victims of sexual exploitation, the children would be stabilized at these homes in order for them to later be assessed for long-term placements (Savchuk).
Florida’s Safe Harbor Act, which takes its inspiration from the format of the Safe Harbor Law in New York (One of the other two states ranked as one of the top destinations for trafficking in the United States), is a state-funded bill, 2012 House Bill 99 against Sexual Exploitation. On March 8, 2012, the bill was withdrawn from Children, Families, and Elder Affairs and was instead referred to the Budget Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations and was moved to Budget SJ 965. According to the Florida Senate, before its approval, the Department of Children and Families in Florida estimated that the cost of this bill would be $15.4 million and $23.1 million annually (Florida Senate). At least $1.5 million of this budget will go towards providing fifty shelter beds in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, and Orlando. (Kavchuk).

Economically speaking, according to the Florida Senate, the Safe Harbor act “does not have any impact on local government revenues” nor does it have any impact on “local government expenditures”, so the policy is not bringing in any extra income with its passing. In regards...

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