Human Trafficking in Orange County, Orlando, FL
As Sheriff, pimps and those who facilitate human trafficking will be identified and led away in handcuffs. In addition, I will advocate for the amendment of Orange County Ordinances for the purpose of recognizing human trafficking statistics and the fact human trafficking occurs more frequently inside hotels and motels, as well as, all around the hospitality industry.
Acknowledgement and admission of the problem is the first step in taking meaningful action to keep the vulnerable safe from predators. This will not hurt tourism – as feared by many. Instead, the communities and leaders in Orange County, Orlando, FL can show the world how to defeat human trafficking.
Human trafficking was a topic absolutely no one in law enforcement was permitted to talk about back in 2005/2006. An OPD Sergeant was transferred out of the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation (MBI), by OPD management, for giving an interview about the prevalence of human trafficking in Orlando.
Bucking The System
Then Director of MBI, Bill Lutz, bucked the system in 2008 and permitted Real Vice Cops to film in Orlando, FL. I was there. I was in the six-episode series as we arrested pimps, investigated prostitution, and rescued victims of human trafficking in the hotels along International Drive.
A Blind Eye At Work
Did you know the ‘feel good’ county ordinance, introduced in December of 2015, exempted hoteliers from posting signage warning of the dangers and indicators of human trafficking? Yep, the more you know.
The Orange County Board of County Commissioners, along with then, and now former, Orange County Commissioner Pete Clarke, enacted ARTICLE IX. – HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS SIGNS on December 1, 2015 with an effective date of February 1, 2016, ahead of the 2016 election for County Commissioner.
Section 26.168. – Findings portion of Article IX failed to incorporate actual statistics from 2015 showing human trafficking is more prevalent in hotel rooms. It then comes as no surprise that Section 26-170. – Human trafficking public awareness signs also failed to require hotels to erect human trafficking signs in a conspicuous location, in addition to the establishment locations identified in existing statutory language.
Orange County officials and staff essentially copied and pasted the statutory language, claimed the language as their own, and incorporated the language in the Orange County Ordinance. Clearly, there was no extra effort here to acknowledge the existence of human trafficking occurring in Orlando hotel rooms. Rather, the ordinances seem rushed to beat the day of election and persuade voters something was being done to make a difference.
It’s a fact that hotels and motels are consistently at the top of the statistics for human trafficking. A blind eye will never acknowledge these statistics.
Florida Statutory Language
Here is the Florida State Statute for human trafficking signage:
787.29 Human trafficking public awareness signs.—
(3) The employer at each of the following establishments shall display a public awareness sign developed under subsection (4) in a conspicuous location that is clearly visible to the public and employees of the establishment:
(4) The required public awareness sign must be at least 8.5 inches by 11 inches in size, must be printed in at least a 16-point type, and must state substantially the following in English and Spanish:
“If you or someone you know is being forced to engage in an activity and cannot leave—whether it is prostitution, housework, farm work, factory work, retail work, restaurant work, or any other activity—call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 or text INFO or HELP to 233-733 to access help and services. Victims of slavery and human trafficking are protected under United States and Florida law.”
Orange County Ordinance Language
Here is the Orange County Ordinance language for human trafficking signage:
(1) A strip club or other adult entertainment establishment.
(2) A business or establishment that offers massage or bodywork services for compensation that is not owned by a health care profession regulated pursuant to F.S. ch. 456 and defined in F.S. § 456.001.
(b) Sign dimensions. The required public awareness sign must be at least eight and one-half (8½) inches by eleven (11) inches in size, must be printed in at least a 16-point type, and must state substantially the following in English, Spanish, and Creole:
If you or someone you know is being forced to engage in an activity and cannot leave—whether it is prostitution, housework, farm work, factory work, retail work, restaurant work, or any other activity—call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 or text INFO or HELP to 233-733 to access help and services. Victims of slavery and human trafficking are protected under United States and Florida law.
Posted pursuant to FS. §787.29 and Orange County Code §26-170
(Ord. No. 2015-23 , § 1, 12-1-15)
Enough of the lip service and smoke-screen legislative ordinances. Vote Bill Moore to be safe!
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