DeSantis Signs Bills on Human Trafficking

( – Calling human trafficking in the U.S. a “$150 billion-dollar illegal enterprise,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a raft of bills to shut down the racket in Florida. 

He said he would use “every resource” available in Florida to put traffickers out of business and get them into prison. 

Among the bills DeSantis signed at the event on May 16th was SB 7064, which would increase criminal penalties for traffickers. SB 1690 brings new rules to hotels, which will be required to follow laws about recognizing signs of human trafficking. DeSantis also signed HB 1465, which increases penalties for traffickers who use guns and force in their illegal trade. 

According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), DeSantis is right about the $150 billion figure, but that represents global profits from human trafficking, not just profits in the U.S.

At the bill-signing event in Lighthouse Point, DeSantis took aim at the lack of federal control over immigration. He said Florida was “kicking the rear” of the Biden administration when it came to border security. 72% of victims of human trafficking are migrants from other countries, DeSantis said, citing numbers from the Human Trafficking Institute. 

Last year, DeSantis filed a petition in the Florida Supreme Court to create a grand jury to look at the issue of international human smuggling at the U.S. border. He mentioned an earlier Florida grand jury that accused the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement of cooperating with the trafficking and abuse of non-U.S. children. 

As is usually the case with gubernatorial bill-signing events, DeSantis took the opportunity to do some informal campaigning. Though he has not officially declared his candidacy for President in 2024, it is nearly certain that he will face former President Donald Trump in the Republican primaries.

Abortion is likely to come up; DeSantis said Trump has not answered the question of whether he would sign a “heartbeat bill” that would ban abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. 

Copyright 2023,