Florida Senate - 2018                             CS for SB 1044
       By the Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs; and
       Senators Book and Campbell
       586-03130-18                                          20181044c1
    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; defining terms;
    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, penalties, punitive
    9         damages, attorney fees, expenses, and costs; requiring
   10         a court to impose civil penalties in certain
   11         circumstances; providing for the deposit or
   12         distribution of civil penalties; requiring the equal
   13         distribution of punitive damages between victims and
   14         the trust fund; providing that such actions are
   15         subject to specified statute of limitations; providing
   16         an affirmative defense for owners or operators of
   17         public lodging establishments under certain
   18         circumstances; amending s. 772.104, F.S.; specifying
   19         that certain provisions concerning civil actions for
   20         criminal practices do not apply to actions that may be
   21         brought under s. 787.061, F.S.; amending s. 95.11,
   22         F.S.; conforming provisions to changes made by the
   23         act; providing an effective date.
   25  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   27         Section 1. This act may be cited as the “Civil Cause of
   28  Action for Victims of Human Trafficking Act.”
   29         Section 2. Section 787.061, Florida Statutes, is created to
   30  read:
   31         787.061 Civil actions by victims of human trafficking.—
   32         (1) FINDINGS.-The Legislature finds that, to achieve the
   33  intent of the Legislature relating to human trafficking
   34  expressed in s. 787.06(1)(d), it is necessary to provide a civil
   35  cause of action for the recovery of compensatory and punitive
   36  damages and costs.
   37         (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
   38         (a) “Facilitator” means a person who knowingly, or in
   39  willful blindness, assists or provides goods or services to a
   40  trafficker which assist or enable the trafficker to carry out
   41  human trafficking. The term does not include a person who
   42  facilitates human trafficking as a result of force, threat, or
   43  coercion.
   44         (b) “Human trafficking” has the same meaning as provided in
   45  s. 787.06.
   46         (c) “Trafficker” means any person who knowingly engages in
   47  human trafficking, attempts to engage in human trafficking, or
   48  benefits financially by receiving anything of value from
   49  participation in a venture that has subjected a person to human
   50  trafficking.
   51         (d) “Trust fund” means the Trust Fund for Victims of Human
   52  Trafficking and Prevention created in s. 787.0611.
   53         (e) “Venture” means any group of two or more individuals
   54  associated in fact, whether or not a legal entity.
   55         (f) “Victim of human trafficking” means a person subjected
   56  to coercion, as defined in s. 787.06, or by any other means, for
   57  the purpose of being used in human trafficking; a child under 18
   58  years of age subjected to human trafficking; or an individual
   59  subjected to human trafficking as defined by federal law.
   60         (g)“Willful blindness” exists when a person has knowledge
   61  of information that would raise suspicions in a reasonable
   62  person and he or she deliberately refrains from obtaining
   63  confirmation of or acting on the information because he or she
   64  wants to remain in ignorance, such that knowledge of the facts
   65  avoided can reasonably and fairly be imputed to the person who
   66  avoided confirming it.
   67         (3)CIVIL CAUSE OF ACTION.—
   68         (a)A victim of human trafficking has a civil cause of
   69  action against the trafficker or facilitator who victimized her
   70  or him and may recover damages as provided in this section.
   71         (b)The action may be brought in any court of competent
   72  jurisdiction, and the standard of proof is a preponderance of
   73  the evidence.
   74         (c)A victim who prevails in any such action is entitled to
   75  recover economic and noneconomic damages, penalties, punitive
   76  damages, reasonable attorney fees, reasonable investigative
   77  expenses, and costs.
   78         1.Economic damages include, but are not limited to, past
   79  and future medical and mental health expenses; repatriation
   80  expenses, when a victim elects repatriation; and all other
   81  reasonable costs and expenses incurred by the victim in the past
   82  or estimated to be incurred by the victim in the future as a
   83  result of the human trafficking.
   84         2.Noneconomic damages are nonfinancial losses that would
   85  not have occurred but for the victimization, and include pain
   86  and suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, mental
   87  anguish, disfigurement, loss of capacity for enjoyment of life,
   88  and other nonfinancial losses.
   89         (d)The remedies provided in this section are in addition
   90  to and cumulative with other legal and administrative remedies
   91  available to victims of human trafficking, except that a victim
   92  may not recover under both this section and s. 772.104(2). If a
   93  parent or legal guardian knowingly or through willful blindness
   94  trafficked the victim, facilitated such trafficking, or
   95  otherwise participated in the human trafficking of the victim,
   96  such parent or legal guardian is not entitled to damages or
   97  distributions under this section.
   98         (e)If a victim prevails in an action under this section,
   99  in addition to any other award imposed, the court shall assess a
  100  civil penalty against the defendant in the amount of $50,000.
  101  This penalty is in addition to and not in lieu of any other
  102  damage award. The civil penalty must be assessed by the court
  103  and may not be disclosed to the jury. Proceeds from this civil
  104  penalty shall be deposited into the trust fund.
  105         (f)If one or more law enforcement agencies rescued the
  106  victim or located the property where the abuse or exploitation
  107  of a victim or victims occurred, the court must impose a civil
  108  penalty against the defendant in the amount of $50,000 and award
  109  the penalty to the law enforcement agencies to fund future
  110  efforts to combat human trafficking. The court must equitably
  111  distribute this civil penalty among the law enforcement
  112  agencies.
  113         (g)The court shall have specific authority to consolidate
  114  civil actions for the same trafficker or facilitator for the
  115  purpose of case resolution and aggregate jurisdiction.
  116         (h)Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, the
  117  amount of punitive damages awarded under this section shall be
  118  equally divided between the victim and the trust fund.
  119         (4) STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS.—The statute of limitations as
  120  specified in ss. 95.11(7) and 95.11(9) is applicable to actions
  121  brought under this section.
  122         (5)AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE.—In any action brought under this
  123  section against the owner or operator of a public lodging
  124  establishment based on a claim of vicarious liability, it is an
  125  affirmative defense to damages recoverable under such claim if
  126  the owner or operator proves by the preponderance of evidence
  127  that:
  128         (a)It required management employees and employees of the
  129  establishment reasonably expected to routinely interact with
  130  guests to complete an educational program designed to
  131  effectively train such employees in the identification,
  132  prevention, and reporting of suspected human trafficking within
  133  30 days after hiring or by January 1, 2019, whichever occurs
  134  later;
  135         (b)It had in place an effective employee protocol or
  136  employee code of conduct to prevent, detect, and report
  137  suspected human trafficking; and
  138         (c)Any employee alleged in the action to have been
  139  facilitators of, or otherwise participants in, human
  140  trafficking, complied with the recommendations and practices
  141  suggested or required in the training, protocols, or policies
  142  required in this subsection.
  143         Section 3. Subsection (4) is added to section 772.104,
  144  Florida Statutes, to read:
  145         772.104 Civil cause of action.—
  146         (4)This section does not apply to a cause of action that
  147  may be brought under s. 787.061.
  148         Section 4. Subsections (7) and (9) of section 95.11,
  149  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  150         95.11 Limitations other than for the recovery of real
  151  property.—Actions other than for recovery of real property shall
  152  be commenced as follows:
  153         (7) FOR INTENTIONAL TORTS BASED ON ABUSE.—An action founded
  154  on alleged abuse, as defined in s. 39.01, s. 415.102, or s.
  155  984.03, or incest, as defined in s. 826.04, or human
  156  trafficking, as defined in s. 787.06, may be commenced at any
  157  time within 7 years after the age of majority, or within 4 years
  158  after the injured person leaves the dependency of the abuser, or
  159  within 4 years from the time of discovery by the injured party
  160  of both the injury and the causal relationship between the
  161  injury and the abuse, whichever occurs later.
  163  action related to an act constituting a violation of s. 794.011
  164  or brought pursuant to s. 787.061 involving a victim who was
  165  under the age of 16 at the time of the act may be commenced at
  166  any time. This subsection applies to any such action other than
  167  one which would have been time barred on or before July 1, 2010.
  168         Section 5. This act shall take effect October 1, 2018.