Florida’s SB1070 copycat will help slaveowners in Florida.
In my last post, I discussed how Sen. Bennett is proposing a bill in the Florida legislature that is going to lead to racial profiling.
Now, I will discuss even more serious consequences: the law will aid human traffickers. South Florida is one of the principal destinations for human trafficking victims.
A human trafficking victim is essentially a slave. It usually comes in two forms: labor slavery and sexual slavery. Labor slavery is the more common, although sexual slavery gets discussed more often. Agricultural exports and the service industry drive Florida’s economy. Much of the harvested fruits and vegetables from Florida are the product of slave labor. There’s also an unknown number or workers held against their wills who work in restaurants, hotels, and other places. In the sexual slavery context, these are typically young girls who are vulnerable and are brought to Florida with the promise of a better life. In labor and sexual slavery, the victims are typically trafficked from other countries.
Traffickers submit these people against their will, forcing them to work for free. This is what keeps your fruits and vegetables at artificially low prices. This is also what is driving a thriving sex industry in Florida. The victims are often uneducated; they often have no clue where they are after the traffickers bring them to Florida; they come from working class backgrounds in other countries; and they rarely speak enough English to survive. These factors combine to make victims vulnerable enough to be held against their wills.
Under federal law, victims of human trafficking are eligible for T-visas. Thus, if a human trafficking victim is able to escape and enlist the help of the police or federal law enforcement, he or she is likely to qualify for a T-Visa.
Now, if Bennett’s bill became law, what would happen when a victim of human trafficking attempts to enlist the police’s help? Under Bennett’s law, a victim of human trafficking would be arrested for being undocumented. Typically, human traffickers submit victims with a series of violence and threats. Bennett’s bill would bolster any human trafficker’s threat to victims not to call the police, because the police will arrest them.
But note that this scenario applies to other victims of violent crimes. Many undocumented women live in domestic violence situations. Many of them are eligible for U Visas, or Violence Against Women Act adjustment. But before they can do anything, they have to get out of their abusive relationships. Under Bennett’s bill, the police would arrest these victims of domestic violence.
That’s right: Bennett’s bill gives the upper hand to domestic violence perpetrators and human traffickers.
The Florida Legislature’s Senate President Pro Tempore, Michael Bennett, supports human traffickers and domestic violence perpetrators.