Florida Regulatory Alert: Human Trafficking Requirements Update

Posted By: Holli Noel-Depold Advocacy News , Industry News , SWFAA News ,

During the 2019 session, language was added to Florida Statutes to increase human trafficking awareness by imposing various requirements on public lodging establishments. These requirements go into effect on January 1, 2021. Below is an update regarding how these requirements will impact the apartment industry.

In an effort to help the apartment industry achieve compliance with Florida's new human trafficking awareness training requirements, FAA is hosting a FREE virtual Human Trafficking Awareness Training on August 17 at 10:30 a.m.

This training will feature a Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) approved training curriculum from the Florida Alliance to End Human Trafficking. All FAA members who complete this training will be eligible for a completion certificate, which can be used to confirm an employee's compliance with the new human trafficking awareness training requirements outlined in Florida law in Section 509.096.

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SUMMARY

 

Section 509.096 has been added to Florida Statutes and goes into effect January 1, 2021. This new law will be enforced by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). The department was given rule making authority by the Legislature at the time this law was passed. However, DBPR recently determined rule language is not needed. Click here for a copy of DBPR's new FAQ sheet regarding this law.

 

Please note that based on DBPR's interpretation of the law, the training requirements outlined below will only apply to apartment community employees who perform housekeeping duties in rental units or who work at the front desk or reception area where guests (not residents) check in or check out.

 

This new law requires all public lodging establishments to:

·    Implement a procedure for reporting suspected human trafficking to the National Human Trafficking Hotline or to a local law enforcement agency.

 

·    Post a human trafficking awareness sign in a conspicuous location in the establishment, which is accessible to employees. The sign must be at least 11 inches by 15 inches in size, printed in an easily legible font and in at least 32-point type. The sign must state in English, Spanish, and any other language predominantly spoken in that area which the department deems appropriate, substantially the following: “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 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.” Click here to access and print a sample sign provided by DBPR.

 

·    Provide annual training on 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 check in or check out. The training must be provided for new employees within 60 days after they begin employment in a housekeeping or reception area role, or by January 1, 2021, whichever occurs later. A public lodging establishment can create their own training curriculum or choose an approved curriculum listed on the DBPR website. All training programs must be approved by DBPR to be in compliance with this requirement.

  • DBPR's FAQ sheet regarding this law.

  • Click here to access and print a sample human trafficking awareness sign provided by DBPR.

  • DBPR has already approved several training curriculums and many are available online for free via the DBPR website

  • In an effort to help the apartment industry achieve compliance with Florida's new human trafficking awareness training requirements, FAA is hosting a FREE virtual Human Trafficking Awareness Training on August 17 at 10:30 a.m.

  • Click here to access the recording from the July 9, 2020 FAA webinar. Please note you will need to be logged in as an FAA member to access the recording. 

  • DBPR Contact Information:

    • Division of Hotels and Restaurants

    • 2601 Blair Stone Road, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1011

    • Telephone: 850.487.1395

    • Email: dhr.info@myfloridalicense.com

Please stay tuned for future updates from FAA regarding this new law as we continue to learn more about the department's plans for enforcement.

Disclaimer: This information is being provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. FAA members are encouraged to contact their legal counsel for legal guidance regarding this matter.