Attorney General Ashley Moody is unveiling legislation to expand protections of human trafficking victims in court proceedings. [Read more…] about Attorney General Moody Unveils Legislation Protecting Victims of Human Trafficking in Court Proceedings
Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book (D-Davie) has filed a bill to close a legal loophole in the fight against human trafficking [Read more…] about Leader Book Files Bill Closing Legal Loophole in Fight Against Human Trafficking
Senator Ileana Garcia (R-Miami) filed Senate Bill 294, Public Records/Statewide Council on Human Trafficking, now referred to its respective committees, to increase the effectiveness of the work performed by the Florida Alliance to End Human Trafficking and protect the identity of individuals that support efforts to end human trafficking in Florida. [Read more…] about Senator Ileana Garcia Files Legislation to Enhance Efforts to End Human Trafficking in Florida
Senator Lori Berman (D-Delray Beach) and Representative Kelly Skidmore (D-Boca Raton) have filed legislation to increase penalties for specific human trafficking violations. [Read more…] about Senator Berman and Representative Skidmore File Legislation Cracking Down on Human Trafficking Predators
Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez and State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees today highlighted the important role the Florida Department of Health has in identifying and helping victims of human trafficking, many of whom are minors. [Read more…] about Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez and State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees Address Human Trafficking Prevention Ahead of Super Bowl LIV
Attorney General Ashley Moody, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement today announced the arrests of nine individuals on charges related to human trafficking. [Read more…] about Nine Arrested on Human Trafficking Charges
The first-term representative says House Bill 219’s mandatory minimum sentence for traffickers will help reduce trafficking and protect its victims.
State Representative Toby Overdorf has filed legislation that will toughen penalties for human trafficking in Florida. House Bill 219 would require a minimum term of incarceration for solicitation of prostitution offenses involving victims of human trafficking. [Read more…] about Overdorf Sponsors Bill to Toughen Human Trafficking Penalties
January is Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and today Attorney General Ashley Moody is raising awareness to fight human trafficking. Attorney General Moody encourages all Floridians to take an active role to help combat this modern-day slavery.
[Read more…] about Attorney General Moody Recognizes Human Trafficking Prevention Month
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution today secured a prison sentence for a man convicted of human trafficking and branding a victim. Friday, a Marion County Judge sentenced Ryan Gemelle Poole, 33, to 30 years in state prison. The sentence comes after the jury found Poole guilty of human trafficking, deriving support from prostitution, unlawful use of a two-way communications device to facilitate a felony, sexual battery and branding. This is Florida’s first conviction under the state’s branding statute.
“This disgusting human trafficker branded his victim, raped and forced her to perform sex acts. We will not allow this evil to persist in Florida, and today’s sentencing serves as a strong warning to anyone trying to enslave and traffic people in our state,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi. “I want to thank my Statewide Prosecutors Julie Sercus and Rita Peters for their resolve and determination to ensure this monster did not escape justice.”
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office began investigating Poole in 2016. The investigation revealed that Poole met the victim on a dating website and started a romantic relationship. Poole then began grooming the victim for prostitution by giving the victim cocaine and coercing the victim to work as a stripper. Soon Poole began selling the victim for sex, advertising on the now defunct Backpage.com website.
Poole forced the victim to travel from Marion County to Alachua, Charlotte, Hillsborough and Orange counties for the purposes of prostitution for personal financial gain. In addition, Poole forced the victim to have his initials tattooed on the victim’s body—to signify the victim as property. In August 2016, the victim tried to escape and Poole raped the victim as punishment.
The trial commenced on April 23, before the Honorable Anthony Tatti in Marion County. After four days of testimony, including that of the victim and Poole, the jury found the defendant guilty on all charges.
The president today signed a bipartisan bill aimed at curbing online sex trafficking by cracking down on websites that knowingly host ads posted by sex traffickers.
The legislation, cosponsored by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), increases penalties for traffickers and gives law enforcement new tools to prosecute the websites that knowingly facilitate sex trafficking online.
“This should serve as a wake-up call for anyone operating one of these websites,” Nelson said after today’s bill signing. “We’re coming for you.”
The bill signing comes just days after federal authorities shut down a website known as Backpage.com and charged its executives with facilitating prostitution.
According to the human trafficking hotline, Florida ranked third in the country for the highest number of sex trafficking cases reported in 2016 and 2017.