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.
   21  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   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         787.061Civil 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.