Miami Beach hotel workers could soon be equipped with panic buttons

Several large cities already equipped with devices

By Neki Mohan - Anchor/Reporter

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - Help could soon be just a button away for thousands of hotel workers in Miami Beach. The city will soon be voting to provide panic buttons to help protect them from sexual assault while they work.

Chicago, New York and Seattle already require the panic buttons.

"I heard the statistics out of Chicago; 56 percent of women who work in hotel rooms were getting sexually harassed," Miami Beach Commissioner Kristin Rosen Gonzalez said. 

The outgoing commissioner is behind the ordinance. 

When she brought the idea out in the open, what she heard about the behavior of hotel guests disgusted her.

"Their bathrobes are open. They are touching women in inappropriate places," Rosen Gonzalez said. "It's just not fair."

One hotel worker described an incident that happened to her. 

"In my own personal experience, one day I'm doing my job, cleaning a room and suddenly a man walked and got up very close behind me without me knowing it," Oneilia Broche said in Spanish.

If the ordinance passes, there will also be a sign on the hotel door letting guests know that the staff is equipped with the device.

One push alerts authorities that a worker feels unsafe.

"I think it will go a long way toward changing behavior and that's what we wanted to do," Rosen Gonzalez said. 

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