Florida Senate - 2018 SB 1044 By Senator Book 32-01237-18 20181044__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to victims of human trafficking; 3 providing a short title; creating s. 787.061, F.S.; 4 providing legislative findings; providing definitions; 5 providing a civil cause of action for victims of human 6 trafficking against a trafficker or facilitator; 7 providing procedures and requirements for bringing a 8 claim; providing for damages, punitive damages, and 9 costs; requiring a court to impose civil penalties in 10 certain circumstances; providing for distribution of 11 civil penalties; providing for the distribution of 12 punitive damages; providing that such actions are not 13 subject to a statute of limitations; providing an 14 affirmative defense for public lodging establishments 15 under certain circumstances; amending s. 772.104, 16 F.S.; specifying that certain provisions concerning 17 civil actions for criminal practices do not apply to 18 actions that may be brought under s. 787.061, F.S.; 19 providing an effective date. 20 21 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 22 23 Section 1. This act may be cited as the “Civil Action for 24 Victims of Human Trafficking and Prevention of Human Trafficking 25 Act.” 26 Section 2. Section 787.061, Florida Statutes, is created to 27 read: 28 787.061 Civil actions by victims of human trafficking.— 29 (1) FINDINGS.—The Legislature finds that, to achieve the 30 goals of the state relating to human trafficking in s. 31 787.06(1)(d), it is necessary to provide a civil cause of action 32 for the recovery of compensatory and punitive damages and costs. 33 (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term: 34 (a) “Facilitator” means a person who knowingly, or in 35 willful blindness, assists or provides goods or services to a 36 trafficker which assist or enable the trafficker to carry out 37 human trafficking. The term does not include a person who 38 facilitates human trafficking as a result of force, threat, or 39 coercion. 40 (b) “Human trafficking” has the same meaning as provided in 41 s. 787.06. 42 (c) “Trafficker” means any person who knowingly engages in 43 human trafficking, attempts to engage in human trafficking, or 44 benefits financially by receiving anything of value from 45 participation in a venture that has subjected a person to human 46 trafficking. 47 (d) “Trust fund” means the Trust Fund for Victims of Human 48 Trafficking and Prevention created in s. 787.0611. 49 (e) “Venture” means any group of two or more individuals 50 associated in fact, whether or not a legal entity. 51 (f) “Victim of human trafficking” means a person subjected 52 to coercion, as defined in s. 787.06, for the purpose of being 53 used in human trafficking, a child under 18 years of age 54 subjected to human trafficking, or an individual subjected to 55 human trafficking as defined by federal law. 56 (g) “Willful blindness” exists when a person has knowledge 57 of information that would raise suspicions in a reasonable 58 person and he or she deliberately refrains from obtaining 59 confirmation of or acting on the information because he or she 60 wants to remain in ignorance, such that knowledge of the facts 61 avoided can reasonably and fairly be imputed to the person who 62 avoided confirming it. 63 (3) CIVIL CAUSE OF ACTION.— 64 (a) A victim of human trafficking has a civil cause of 65 action against the trafficker or facilitator who victimized her 66 or him and may recover damages as provided in this section. 67 (b) The action may be brought in any court of competent 68 jurisdiction, and the standard of proof is a preponderance of 69 the evidence. 70 (c) A victim who prevails in any such action is entitled to 71 recover economic and noneconomic damages, penalties, punitive 72 damages, reasonable attorney fees, reasonable investigative 73 expenses, and costs. 74 1. The measure of economic damages for services or labor 75 coerced from the victim of human trafficking is the greater of 76 the fair market value of the labor or services provided or the 77 amount realized by the trafficker. For purposes of this 78 subparagraph, the terms “services” and “labor” have the same 79 meanings as provided in s. 787.06. 80 2. The measure of economic damages for every day that the 81 human trafficking was ongoing shall be calculated as a daily 82 amount of the compensation payable to a person under s. 83 961.06(1)(a). 84 3. Economic damages also include past and future medical 85 and mental health expenses; repatriation expenses, when a victim 86 elects repatriation; and all other reasonable costs and expenses 87 incurred by the victim in the past or estimated to be incurred 88 by the victim in the future as a result of the human 89 trafficking. 90 4. Noneconomic damages are nonfinancial losses that would 91 not have occurred but for the victimization, and include pain 92 and suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, mental 93 anguish, disfigurement, loss of capacity for enjoyment of life, 94 and other nonfinancial losses. 95 (d) The remedies provided in this section are in addition 96 to and cumulative with other legal and administrative remedies 97 available to victims of human trafficking, except that a victim 98 may not recover under both this section and s. 772.104(2). If a 99 parent or legal guardian knowingly or through willful blindness 100 trafficked the victim, facilitated such trafficking, or 101 otherwise participated in the human trafficking of the victim, 102 such parent or legal guardian is not entitled to damages or 103 distributions under this section. 104 (e) If a victim prevails in an action under this section, 105 in addition to any other award imposed, the court shall assess a 106 civil penalty against the defendant in the amount of $100,000. 107 This penalty is in addition to and not in lieu of any other 108 damage award. The civil penalty must be assessed by the court 109 and may not be disclosed to the jury. Proceeds from this civil 110 penalty shall be deposited into the trust fund. 111 (f) If one or more law enforcement agencies rescued the 112 victim or located the property where the abuse or exploitation 113 of a victim or victims occurred, the court must impose a civil 114 penalty against the defendant in the amount of $50,000 and award 115 the penalty to the law enforcement agencies to fund future 116 efforts to combat human trafficking. The court must equitably 117 distribute this civil penalty among the law enforcement 118 agencies. 119 (g) The court shall have specific authority to consolidate 120 civil actions for the same trafficker or facilitator for the 121 purpose of case resolution and aggregate jurisdiction. 122 (h) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, the 123 amount of punitive damages awarded under this section shall be 124 equally divided between the victim and the trust fund. 125 (4) STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS.—There is no statute of 126 limitations for actions brought under this section. 127 (5) AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE.—In any action brought under this 128 section against the owner or operator of a public lodging 129 establishment based on a claim of vicarious liability, it is an 130 affirmative defense against such claim if the owner or operator 131 proves by a preponderance of evidence that it: 132 (a) Required employees of the establishment reasonably 133 expected to routinely interact with guests to complete an 134 educational program designed to effectively train such employees 135 in the identification and reporting of suspected human 136 trafficking within 30 days of hiring or by July 1, 2019, 137 whichever occurs later; 138 (b) Had in place an employee protocol or employee code of 139 conduct to detect and report suspected human trafficking; and 140 (c) Took reasonable steps, before the first incident giving 141 rise to such action, to ensure that any employees alleged in the 142 action to have been facilitators of, or otherwise participants 143 in, human trafficking, complied with the recommendations and 144 practices suggested or required in the training, protocols, or 145 policies required in this subsection. 146 Section 3. Subsection (4) is added to section 772.104, 147 Florida Statutes, to read: 148 772.104 Civil cause of action.— 149 (4) This section does not apply to a cause of action that 150 may be brought under s. 787.061. 151 Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.