Florida ranks third in the country for calls of suspected human trafficking to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
The House and Senate have settled on funding two nonprofits focused on combatting human trafficking and helping survivors.
In the latest bump offer made by the Senate, the upper and lower chamber agreed to set aside $375,000 for the No More Foundation, a Tampa nonprofit that supports trafficking survivors.
The offer is still lower than the original $500,000 funding request, as laid out in appropriation projects (SF 2678, HB 2339) filed by state Sen. Danny Burgess and Rep. Jackie Toledo, supported by lobbyist Andrew Palmer for the No More Foundation.
The $500,000 would account for 83% of the project, with another $100,000 provided by private donors, according to the request. Last year, the organization received $250,000 in state funding.
The money would go to expanding the institution’s capacity for its transition program in order to serve more survivors. According to the request, Tampa ranks as one of the top locations for human trafficking, and in 2019, at least 152 victims were waiting to enter into restorative transition programs. The No More Foundation would serve between 100-200 survivors from the funding.
In addition to providing a safe space for survivors of human trafficking, the organization also offers training to the community at schools, churches, businesses, health care institutions and law enforcement, reaching thousands of individuals.
“Working with community experts, NO MORE has developed a plan to add transition program capacity, so more victims are most effectively served,” the request reads. “We will also offer training and awareness events throughout the community to reduce the amount of future trafficking victims.”
The request broke down exactly how the funds would be used — $247,537 would go to equipment and maintenance, increasing the number of available beds, as well as rent and expenses for the current housing and two additional homes. Another part of that chunk ($68,600) would be directed toward mobile outreach, which includes a mobile shower, job training and court fees. A $77,030 portion would be spent on community awareness and $11,737 would go to travel supplies and expenses.
About $200,000 would be allocated for staff salaries, including payroll for a program director, coordinator, specialists and case managers. Another $19,950 would go to organizational leadership. Finally, $32,400 would be provided for accounting services and community partnership recruitment, according to the request.
The two chambers have also agreed on $500,000 for an appropriation looking to fund the Florida Alliance to End Human Trafficking.
The funding requests (SF 1332, HB 3291), filed by Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez and Rep. Chris Latvala, seek $500,000 to improve the program’s awareness and education courses. The program did not receive funding last year.
According to the funding request, the Florida Alliance is specifically seeking to expand its existing training course and offer it in a variety of languages. That will allow the organization to offer training to a more broad range of individuals who must complete it due to their profession, including “hotel and motel staff, apartment managers, lawn and garden landscapers, housekeepers, receptionists, bellmen, valet.”
The estimated cost to contract for translation services is $450,000, according to the request, which lists languages such as Spanish, French Creole, French, Chinese and Russian. Another $50,000 is anticipated for the cost of technology and website services to integrate the language translations onto the existing training course
To date, more than 5,500 individuals have completed the awareness training.
The request cites data that shows Florida ranks third in the country for calls of suspected human trafficking to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. In 2020-21, there were 2,289 reports of alleged exploitation to the Florida Abuse Hotline.FROM FLORIDA POLITICS