Fighting the Good Fight
to End Human Trafficking
Meet Jill Gallagher & Jordan Brown, Co-Chairs for Place of Hope's Inaugural "Light in the Shadows" Anti-Human Trafficking Luncheon. They are not only Co-Chairs, but also business owners and fierce advocates in the fight against this heinous epidemic happening all around us.

Bringing together upward of 500 influential men and women for an inspirational program and lunch, "...this event will shine a light on what is lurking in the shadows and in plain sight every day around us. Whether we want to believe it or not, human trafficking is happening in south Florida, in our community, in our schools, in our backyard. It is up to us to protect our most vulnerable children and youth from being victimized.

It only takes a spark, and that is just what this event will be - a spark cultivating a movement to end human trafficking." Jamie Bond, Place of Hope Director of Advancement and Development, and Human Trafficking Coalition of the Treasure Coast and Okeechobee Board Member.
Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Legislation to Combat Human Trafficking
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), human trafficking is the world’s fastest growing criminal industry and ranks second in size only behind the international illegal drug trade making it the second largest illegal business in the world. Unfortunately, the financial profits derived from human trafficking exceed the cumulative profits of several international corporations.
The Florida Alliance to End Human Trafficking states that Florida is believed to be the third largest center for human trafficking cases in the United States. The average minor is only 12 to 14 years old when he or she if first trafficked for commercial sex purposes although some trafficking victims have been as young as 9 years old.
"Currently, 72% of all human trafficking victims are illegal immigrants and 60% of unaccompanied alien children crossing the border were caught by cartels and exploited for drug trafficking, or worse,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.

“I am signing this legislation to better protect vulnerable children, ensure businesses are taking steps to identify and eliminate trafficking and to give victims a way to fight back against their abusers.”

“We have enacted significant measures to ensure Floridians are not subjected to this heinous crime. Traffickers are not welcomed in our state, and we will use the fullest extent of the law to hold them accountable.” Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez. 
“Governor DeSantis is a strong leader in our fight to end human trafficking and rescue victims,” said Attorney General Ashley Moody. “I am proud to fight alongside him as we strengthen laws to stop human traffickers and help survivors heal.”
Local State House Representative Toby Overdorf of District 85 sponsored CS/HB 7045- Human Trafficking, Prostitution, and Lewdness, the companion bill to SB 7064.

We are grateful for Representative Overdorf sponsoring this companion bill and helping adopt others like HB 851. This inexcusable crime is hiding in plain sight, and he is helping shine a light on it. Since taking office, he has met with Place of Hope executives to understand more about those being victimized, the traffickers and the johns so that he can help propose more effective legislation,” shares Jamie Bond, Place of Hope Director of Advancement and former Human Trafficking Coalition of the Treasure Coast and Okeechobee Chair.
What makes up Senate Bill 7064?

Senate Bill 7604 establishes a new civil cause of action for a victim of human trafficking. The victim may recover damages and costs against an adult theatre, or its owner, operator, or manager who knowingly allows the human trafficking victim to work, perform, or dance at the adult theatre.

Requires adult theaters obtain and maintain certain age verification documents of its employees and independent contractors. Under bill 7064, failure to do so, the penalty is increased to a third degree felony.

The bill amends the educational program penalties that must be imposed upon someone who is convicted of soliciting or enticing another to commit prostitution. In addition to other penalties, the offender must pay for and attend an educational program established by a judicial circuit that teaches the relationship between the demand for commercial sex and human trafficking and its impact on victims, if the program exists in the judicial circuit.

The bill provides that the proceeds of the sale of forfeited property be allocated to pay restitution to the human trafficking victim or victims in the criminal case for which the owner was convicted before any funds may be retained by the seizing government entity for its own use.

The bill requires each certified law enforcement officer to complete 4 hours of training in identifying and investigating human trafficking as part of the basic recruit training or the additional required training.

Finally, the bill establishes the state’s unified Statewide Data Repository for Anonymous Human Trafficking Data at the University of South Florida Trafficking in Persons - Risk to Resilience Lab. The human trafficking data, which must be submitted by law enforcement agencies and other entities, will be used to aid in combatting human trafficking, prosecuting those engaged in human trafficking, and assisting victims of human trafficking.

How Place of Hope is fighting the good fight to combat this egregious epidemic.
The Governor also signed SB 1690, Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking, which expands human trafficking awareness programs and increases human trafficking victim support.

In 2019 Place of Hope filmed and released an educational documentary on human trafficking, Invisible. The documentary features interviews by local and state law enforcement officials, as well as testimonies from survivor leaders. Invisible, appropriately titled as human trafficking is hidden in plain sight, in our backyard, in our schools, in our businesses, in our community. Since its release, nearly 100,000 community members have been educated on human trafficking through this film and through Place of Hope’s Human Trafficking Education Program.

In addition to HT education and awareness, Place of Hope is one of the leaders in the community to provide high-quality case management, comprehensive wrap around support services and therapeutic care, as well as affordable, transitional housing and independent living classes for survivors of human trafficking.
Also signed was HB 1465 which, among other provisions, makes human traffickers eligible for mandatory minimum sentences when they possess or discharge a firearm during the course of their crimes.
Finally, the Governor signed SB 1210 which provides that a petition for human trafficking victim expunction and all pleadings and documents related to the petition are confidential and exempt from public records requirements.
To learn more about human trafficking or to schedule an educational presentation, please contact [email protected].

As we countdown to our annual graduation celebration this Friday, we will be sharing the stories of our outstanding 2023 graduates. Nationally on average, less than 50% of youth in foster care will graduate high school, and only 2% will go on to post-secondary education. When you support Place of Hope, you are supporting the success of each of these individuals and more.

We are proud to say that each of our youth eligible for graduation has graduated this year. This year we have 10 graduates total, six of which are high school grads and four that are college grads, and two special recognitions!