Human trafficking is a reality in every state in our nation, and Florida is no exception. The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) believes we have a moral obligation to do all we can to prevent this atrocious crime and to ensure that the Sunshine State remains a warm and welcoming place for all visitors. In that spirit, the association has committed to educating our members as well as others within the hospitality industry about the dangers of human trafficking. We launched the course in September of 2018, and to encourage all hospitality workers to get educated about this crime, we are offering the course free of charge.
FRLA has partnered with subject matter experts to create a COMPLETELY FREE, DBPR-approved online training course designed to help hoteliers, restaurateurs, and their staff:
- Recognize the signs of human trafficking
- Learn best practices to protect victims and businesses
- Promote anti-trafficking awareness
We also offer instructor-led training for a fee, and FRLA hotel members can request a hotel training kit to lead their own in-house training.
TO ACCESS THE FREE ONLINE COURSE, AVAILABLE IN BOTH ENGLISH AND SPANISH.
Human Trafficking Law
In 2019, the Florida Legislature passed and Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law new human trafficking legislation affecting lodging operators. Section 509.096, Florida Statutes, includes mandatory human trafficking awareness training for lodging employees who perform housekeeping duties or work at the front desk or reception areas. Prudent lodging operators will also train their other guest interaction positions, including concierge, bell staff, valet, and others. The DBPR Industry Bulletin can be found here.
This is abbreviated guidance for convenience. The governing statute in full can be found here.
- Covered lodging properties must implement a procedure to report suspected human trafficking to the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or local law enforcement, and they must post prescribed signage in employee areas regarding the Hotline.
- Covered employees must complete DBPR-approved training by January 1, 2021, or within 60 days of hire, whichever is later, and annually thereafter.
- Provide annual training regarding human trafficking awareness to employees of the establishment who perform housekeeping duties in the rental units or who work at the front desk or reception area where guests ordinarily check in or check out.
- Covered lodging properties must keep on a file (electronic or hard copy) the signed and dated acknowledgement of every covered employee that they received the training. These acknowledgements must be made available to DBPR upon inspection. (Note: DBPR fines are $2,000 per day for public lodging establishments not in compliance with Section 509.096, Florida Statutes.)
- For FRLA’s DBPR-approved online training in English and Spanish – currently offered at no cost – click here.
To learn more about what human trafficking and what business owners need to know, please check out this article by Geoff Luebkemann, SVP of Education and Training, in the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Magazine.
Additional resources for human trafficking include the following:
- DBPR Human Trafficking Web Page
- Review the DHS Blue Campaign Hospitality Toolkit
- Share the DBPR Division of Hotels & Restaurants Human Trafficking Info Sheet
- Display Human Trafficking Awareness Posters
- Hand out the Human Trafficking Indicators Card
- Download the TraffickCam App
- Check out additional materials on the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign website.
Human Trafficking in the News
Human trafficking bill clears Senate committee March 24, 2021
Osceola County Schools training staff to spot signs of human trafficking September 23, 2020
By the numbers: Florida had third-highest human trafficking rate in 2019 September 22, 2020
Human Trafficking Shelter in Orlando to Help Victims Get Back on Their Feet September 19, 2020
Man Arrested in Super Bowl Human Trafficking Case in Miami-Dade August 27, 2020
Florida women ages 21 and 19 arrested for sex trafficking minors August 27, 2020
Super Bowl Also Brought Human Trafficking Concerns To Miami February 20, 2020
Lawsuit claims Florida hotels didn’t stop sex trafficking February 9, 2020
Florida man arrested for human trafficking in Tampa February 3, 2020
Human Trafficking in Florida: The facts you need to know February 1, 2020
Reporter’s Notebook: Human trafficking in hotels January 31, 2020
A Q&A with a human trafficking expert January 30, 2020
FOX 4 INVESTIGATION: How victims get trapped in sex trafficking January 29, 2020
Hospitality Increases Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking January 29, 2020
Department of Health Addresses Human Trafficking January 27, 2020
Human trafficking continues to plague Southwest Florida January 27, 2020
Human trafficking continues to be a growing problem in Florida January 23, 2020
Florida attorney general focused on stopping human trafficking January 23, 2020
Sheriff Rescues 18-Year-Old Sex Trafficking Victim In Brandon January 23, 2020
Building a case against child traffickers in Florida can take years January 22, 2020
St. Pete Police reveal new human trafficking task force January 22, 2020
Human Trafficking in Florida Restaurants and Hotels September 12, 2018