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Governor DeSantis signs bill to raise the age limit for adult entertainment workers in Florida effective July 1st

The bill aims to protect vulnerable workers by raising the age limit for adult entertainment employees from human trafficking operations in the state

In a decisive move aimed at combating human trafficking, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law on Monday, effectively raising the age limit for individuals working in adult entertainment establishments across Florida.

This action, set to take effect on July 1, prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from employment in venues such as strip clubs, adult movie theaters, and libraries. The legislation, known as HB 7063, forms part of a broader effort to address the pervasive issue of human trafficking in the state.

Stay tuned to learn more.

Protecting vulnerable communities

At a press conference held in Coral Gables, Governor DeSantis emphasized the significance of the new law in safeguarding vulnerable populations. He asserted that it’s important to stand strong for those who may not be able to defend themselves. Our state is a great state. He affirmed that we are a united front here, and we're not going to just stand idly by. The legislation reflects a commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of individuals susceptible to exploitation within the adult entertainment industry.

The bill not only raises the age threshold for employment but also extends the lifetime of the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking, underscoring the government's dedication to addressing the root causes of trafficking and providing support to survivors.

Additionally, the bill imposes stringent penalties on businesses violating the adult entertainment age restrictions, signaling a clear message of accountability.

Woman in black leather outfit striking a pose on a pole.

Controversy and legal challenges

While proponents argue that such measures are crucial for combating trafficking, critics raise concerns about potential unintended consequences. Some Democrats questioned whether the adult entertainment age restriction disproportionately targets individuals working in the exotic dancing profession and could push them into riskier employment opportunities.

Representative Michele Rayner voiced these concerns during legislative sessions, cautioning against the legislation's potential impact on vulnerable individuals.

Furthermore, the bill faces anticipated First Amendment challenges, particularly regarding the restriction on freedom of expression in adult entertainment venues. Legal experts anticipate a legal battle, with attorney Gary Edinger highlighting the need for thorough constitutional scrutiny.

The outcome of ongoing litigation, particularly a pending case in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, could shape the future of age-based regulations in such establishments.

Investment in prevention and support

In conjunction with the new law, Governor DeSantis announced significant investments in initiatives aimed at combatting human trafficking. He unveiled a $4.9 million allocation from the state budget to expand access to emergency beds for trafficking survivors and bolster staffing for recovery efforts.

Additionally, a $900,000 grant program will enhance training and resources for law enforcement agencies working on anti-trafficking operations.

These measures complement previous legislative actions taken by the Florida government to address human trafficking comprehensively. Recent initiatives include funding for investigations into massage establishments, increased penalties for offenders, and provisions allowing victims to seek damages from adult entertainment establishments.

By prioritizing prevention, intervention, and support services, the state aims to dismantle the networks of exploitation that perpetuate human trafficking.

In signing the bill and allocating resources toward anti-trafficking efforts, Governor DeSantis reaffirmed Florida's commitment to combating one of the most egregious violations of human rights. The legislation represents a significant step forward in protecting vulnerable individuals and holding accountable those who seek to exploit them.

As the state prepares to implement these measures, stakeholders remain vigilant in their pursuit of justice and advocacy for those affected by human trafficking.

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