Gov. Ron DeSantis could soon sign legislation that creates a statewide registry for pimps and johns in an effort to crack down on human trafficking.
Officials are looking for new ways to ensure victims are not trafficked for sex or labor.
During this year’s legislative session, one of the last bills passed would create new requirements for the operation of massage parlors, strip clubs and hotels.
Under the bill, strip club owners and operators would be charged with misdemeanors if they do not keep records of their employees’ driver licenses or documents with photo IDs and age verification.
Parts of the bill targeting massage parlors were tacked on after police accused New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and 24 other men of soliciting prostitution at a Jupiter massage parlor in February. Police initially said the sting was in connection with a human trafficking case, but no charges related to that crime have been filed.
Still, the demand for prostitution is seen as a “driving force that fuels sex trafficking,” the human trafficking bill says.
To deter pimps and johns, lawmakers voted to create the “Soliciting for Prostitution Public Database,” which lists the names, addresses and color photographs of people who are convicted or plead no contest to soliciting prostitution. A person’s name would be removed after five years if they do not re-offend.
The bill (HB 851) has not formally been sent to DeSantis. But Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez, who serves as vice-chair of the human trafficking panel, said the DeSantis administration is “very concerned” about making sure the state is prepared for the Super Bowl in 2020 in Miami-Dade County and WrestleMania in Tampa.
It will certainly be interesting to see if this bill gets signed into law. The state of Florida is considered one of the harshest on sex offenders in an effort to minimize the crime rate. Currently, there are restrictions placed on those convicted of sex crimes, including where they can live, work, and where they may travel.
Anyone convicted of a sex crime must register with the state’s sex offender registry. These individuals must report to the sheriff’s office and provide personal information, including their name, social security number, physical description, address, phone numbers, as well as a photograph.
In Florida, there are two types of registries for those convicted of sex crimes: the sexual offenders registry and the sexual predators registry. A sexual predator is considered the more dangerous of the two, and they have been convicted of committing capital or first-degree, felony-level sex crimes, or have accumulated two or more second-degree felonies. A sex offender must maintain registration at least twice a year, whereas a sexual predator must update their information at least four times per year.
If you have any questions about Florida’s sexual offender or sexul predator registries, or if you are facing a prostitution-related charged and concerned about the new proposed prostitution registry, let our Florida Prostitution Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton help. We offer a free initial consultation and will make sure you understand your rights. Call us today at 866-608-5529 or contact us online to request an appointment.
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