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DCF Gains Human Trafficking Oversight

The Department of Children and Families is now responsible for the inspection and certification of “safe houses” for victims of human trafficking, under one of two new laws signed by Gov. Rick Scott.

The bills signed Tuesday help establish screening tools to identify if a child has been sexually exploited and allow DCF to create the safe spaces in communities where none currently exist, according to the News Service of Florida.

The locations are meant to provide shelter and services to children and others who are forced into prostitution.

A second bill signed by Scott on Tuesday increases criminal penalties when children are trafficking victims, requires that the state has specially trained child-protection investigators, the News Service reports.

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Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.