With 20 to 30 million current victims of human trafficking, Florida is not exempt from that statistic, but there are ways normal Floridians can help fight this pandemic. The state and the police in Florida have done a lot to combat human trafficking, but it is hard to track down these victims. With the citizens’ help, it could be easier. Former New York City police Jocelyn Little, said when she was on the force, they would find these people everywhere: vans, cars, airports, buses and cargo containers. Many times, a single tip would set off these discoveries.
The first step for Florida residents in helping stop human trafficking is education. “The first thing I think goes back to being educated, understanding the scope and the depth of the problem.” Said Michele Newsome, the director of Porch Light, a safe home for minors who have been trafficked, when asked what’s the first step with getting involved to stop human trafficking. This education includes understanding what human trafficking encompasses and the warning signs that someone is being trafficked. Some of the warning signs are unexplained injuries, like bruises, cuts, and black eyes. Other warning signs include people unable to handle their money and unexplained tattoos. There are many other warnings signs to look out for, and knowing them could save a life. When you see a situation that does not look right, you must use this knowledge to call in. There is the Florida Abuse Hotline, National Human Trafficking Resource Center, and U.S Department of Justice you can call, and report this too. Calling in could save a life, or lives of victims of human trafficking.
After education comes action, and getting involved in organizations or spreading awareness in your own ways are great ways to help out. There are organization everywhere in Florida trying to stop human trafficking. One in particular is Porch Light of Lakeland. They are the first safe house specifically for minors who have been trafficked in Florida. They go out into the community constantly trying to educate people and create awareness of human trafficking. Other organizations include Global Child Rescue, Klaas Kids, Zonta Club of Tallahassee, and the Florida Coalition against Human Trafficking. Getting in touch with one of these organizations is a great way to stop human trafficking, but there are other actions you could do too. This could be talking to local and state government, hosting awareness events, encouraging schools to talk about human trafficking, and students could also join an anti-human trafficking club, or make one themselves.
Human trafficking is a global problem, and the fight against it is everywhere, and that includes Florida. Getting involved and helping stop human trafficking is something possible for all Floridians. It can be as simple but important as calling in something suspicious, or something more involving like creating awareness events. All of these actions can’t happen without education. This is why researching on human trafficking is important, it grants Floridians the ability to be another person in the fight against human trafficking.
Florida Abuse Hotline: 1-800-962-2873
National Human Trafficking Resource Center: 1-888-373-7888
US Department of Justice: 1-888-428-7581