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  • Writer's pictureSavannah Parvu

Human Trafficking Bill for Victims... NOT "Sex Workers"

Senator Book & Savannah at St. Thomas University School of Law

After spending 2018 working on a Human Trafficking Bill with Senator Lauren Book I was excited to make the trip to Tallahassee to testify on behalf of the bill. Last month Senate Bill 540 was heard at its first committee stop, which was the Criminal Justice Committee.

During the committee meeting the bill was opposed by “Consensual Sex Workers” and THEIR advocates. Yes, “consensual sex workers” were there telling law makers this bill will hurt them, their community and human trafficking victims. It was even said people should not report human trafficking… it should be up to the victim to get help if they want it.

I didn’t react.

Based on my testimony and theirs a news article was later put out stating “Sex Trafficking Bill Divides Survivors, Advocates.”

My response to that article was, “as a survivor, I would NOT consider sex workers to be ‘advocates’ for human trafficking victims.”

I left it at that.

Due to medical testing/appointments and work I was unable to attend the second senate committee, but I watched as it continued.

Thankfully it passed both committees unanimously and only has one more to pass on the Senate side.

This week the House Bill, HB 851 went to its first committee stop. I was again unable to attend this on due to work, but I watched as the circus continued.

Savannah & Rep. Fitzenhage at the FL Women's Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

I was extremely proud of Representative Heather FItzenhagen and Chair Grant for calling it what it is… ILLEGAL.

I haven’t said much because I try to hear people and understand where they’re coming from, but since the very first committee meeting last month I haven’t been able to stop thinking about I needed when I was being trafficked.

When I was a child I needed help and as an adult I needed help. I was in situations where I couldn’t report it and wouldn’t report it even if I could, but I desperately wanted someone help.

Human trafficking victims are just that… VICTIMS. “Sex workers” claim they’re doing it willingly, so if a bill that is designed to help human trafficking victims puts sex workers in danger or is bad for “business” then maybe it’s time for a career change. That may sound cruel, but Victims don’t have a choice… “sex workers” do.

I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Book and Representative Fitzenhagen on this bill. I’m beyond thankful for their work, dedication and even friendship. It has been an honor working with them and getting to know them. You are the advocates I needed!

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