House and Senate agree on funding for anti-human trafficking program
The House and Senate decided to fund two nonprofit organizations focused on combating human trafficking and helping survivors.
In the latest bump offer made by the Senate, the upper house and lower house agree to set aside $375,000 for the No More Foundation, a Tampa nonprofit that supports survivors of trafficking.
The offer is still lower than the initial funding request of $500,000, as noted in the Appropriation Drafts (SF 2678, HB 2339) filed by State Sen. Danny Burgess be p. Jackie Toledobacked by lobbyist Andrew Palm for the No More Foundation.
The $500,000 would represent 83% of the project, with an additional $100,000 provided by private donors, depending on demand. Last year, the organization received $250,000 in state funding.
The money would be used to increase the facility’s capacity for its bridging program to serve more survivors. According to the request, Tampa ranks as a top location for human trafficking, and in 2019 there were at least 152 victims waiting to participate in restorative transition programs. The No More Foundation would serve between 100 and 200 survivors with the funding.
In addition to providing a safe space for survivors of human trafficking, the organization also provides community training in schools, churches, businesses, healthcare facilities and law enforcement, reaching thousands of people.
“Working with community experts, NO MORE has developed a plan to add transitional program capacity, so that more victims are served more effectively,” the application reads. “We will also provide training and awareness events throughout the community to reduce the number of future victims of trafficking.”
The application outlined exactly how the funds would be used – $247,537 would go towards equipment and maintenance, increasing the number of beds available, as well as rent and expenses for the current accommodation and two additional houses. Another portion of that chunk ($68,600) would be directed to the mobile scope, which includes a mobile shower, job training and legal fees, $77,030 for community outreach, and $11,737 for supplies and travel expenses.
Approximately $200,000 would be allocated to staff salaries, including pay for a program director, coordinator, specialists and case managers. Another $19,950 would go to the organization’s leadership. Finally, $32,400 would be provided for accounting services and the recruitment of community partners, depending on demand.
The two chambers also agreed to a $500,000 appropriation to fund the Florida Alliance to End Human Trafficking.
Funding requests (SF-1332, HB 3291), filed by Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez be p. Chris Latvala, seeking $500,000 to enhance the program’s outreach and education courses. The program did not receive funding last year.
According to the funding request, the Florida Alliance is specifically looking to expand its existing training course and offer it in a variety of languages. This will allow the organization to offer training to a wider range of people who need to take it because of their profession, including “hotel and motel staff, apartment managers, lawn and garden landscapers , cleaning ladies, receptionists, bellboys, valets”.
The estimated contract cost for translation services is $450,000, according to the request, which lists languages such as Spanish, French Creole, French, Chinese and Russian. Another $50,000 is planned for the cost of technology and website services to integrate the language translations into the existing training course
To date, more than 5,500 people have taken the awareness training.
The request cites data that shows Florida ranks third in the nation for suspected human trafficking calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. In 2020-21, 2,289 cases of suspected abuse were reported to the Florida Abuse Hotline.