January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month and last year, Florida ranked third in the nation for reports of human trafficking cases.
In the most recent update for the state of Florida, the National Human Trafficking Hotline has received 617 calls from FL victims and survivors + 896 new reports of human trafficking cases in our state. It is estimated that 40+ million people are currently trafficked worldwide, and a majority are women and children.
Wait, what is human trafficking?
Defined by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, human trafficking is any forced or coerced labor resulting in involuntary servitude, exploitation, debt bondage, or slavery. Two of the most common types of trafficking include the sex trade and domestic labor — including prostitution and pornography, as well as housekeeping and nannying. According to the FL Department of Children and Families, labor trafficking is also prevalent in industries requiring a lot of manual work — such as construction, agriculture, manufacturing, restaurants, and hotels.
How can I help?
In FL, trafficking of children or adults is a felony. One of the best ways for community members to help eliminate this crime is to educate themselves on the warning signs. This includes businesses where employees arrive and leave work together by the same means of transportation, working long hours for little or no pay, unexplained injuries or absences, or individuals not in possession of personal documents.
In addition, community members should be aware of the myths and misconceptions about human trafficking. For example, victims will not always accept help + they are not always physically constrained — in many cases, imprisonment is financial or psychological.
If you suspect human trafficking is happening in your community — or if you need help — do not put yourself in harm’s way. You can report suspicious behavior and activity to human trafficking authorities, including:
- National Human Trafficking Hotline (call, text, or chat online)
- FL Department of Law Enforcement (call or email)
- FL Abuse Hotline
If you want to learn more or get involved, check out these local and national organizations that are fighting to eliminate human trafficking in FL.
- Created Women
- International Association of Human Trafficking Investigators
- One More Child
- The Lifeboat Project
- The U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking
- United Abolitionists
- Center For The Advancement Of Human Rights
- The Polaris Project
- Catholic Relief Services
We all have to do our part. Share this information with your community to help shine a light on human trafficking crimes in our state.