While human trafficking is something that we need to be aware of no matter where we are, those in Florida should especially be on high alert. Things have gotten so bad there that St. Petersburg Police Department actually had to start a ‘human trafficking task force.’
To learn some myths, fact and statistics of human trafficking, click here to view Polaris fact sheet.
In Florida numbers of human trafficking cases or situations in regards are going up big time. While back in 2017 there were only about 622 reports in 2018 that number had gone up to 767. Those reports for 2018 alone led to the identification of almost 2,000 victims and 306 different trafficking businesses.
The majority of the human trafficking cases coming out of Florida are se* trafficking cases, but we should also be aware that some of them are labor trafficking cases as well. While on TV human trafficking victims are transported outside the US and forced to do things in other countries more often than not but that’s not always the case. Many people are victims of human trafficking all the whole remaining here right under our noses in need of help but unsure of how to reach out for it.
Human trafficking can take different forms, but they all have a common thread: People are being sold for se* and labor right under our noses — at hotels, unassuming strip mall massage parlors, the back of restaurants — but they still are invisible to us. Perpetrators often go unpunished, partly because victims are afraid to cooperate.
We all like to think we would find a way out, fight our captors if we were in this situation (how hard must it be to break out of a massage parlor in a busy part of town?). But the pervasiveness of human trafficking shows that what we’re fighting against is more than people being held captive; it’s also victims believing they have no other alternative.
It should also be noted that the average human trafficking victim is in regards to se* trafficking first used between 12-14 years of age. Some of these victims are much younger than that but it is also important to remember that people are at risk no matter their age. For a long time now Florida has had a human trafficking problem and that is in part because of how booming the state is as a whole as well as just how great of a tourist spot it has become.
To learn more about this topic please check out the videos below. If you or someone you know is being affected by human trafficking please do not hesitate to reach out for help. You can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1 (888) 373-7888 or text ‘HELP’ or ‘INFO’ to 233733. This line is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week and is able to help anyone regardless of the language they speak. While it might not feel like there is a way out and you may be scared, you deserve to be free and there are people out here in this world who are willing to do all they need to do to save you.