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DCF Urges Floridians to Be Aware of the Dangers of Human Trafficking
Jan. 11 is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

TALLAHASSEE – Human trafficking is a devastating human rights violation and a human tragedy.  In recognition of January 11, 2011, National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) urges all Floridians to learn more about human trafficking and join efforts to put an end to this horrific crime.

“Slavery, or human trafficking, usually targets vulnerable people, both children and adults,” said DCF Secretary George Sheldon.  “Traffickers are selling women and children on our city streets.  They are working large numbers of victims in fields and factories and they are enslaving workers in the very hotels we stay in. We will continue to educate the public about the need for prevention and prosecution as ways to end human trafficking.”

Statistics rank Florida as the third most popular trafficking destination in the country.  Half of all trafficking victims are children. The Department of Children and Families is committed to taking a leadership role in efforts to abolish human trafficking in Florida.

Secretary Sheldon co-chairs the Florida Statewide Task Force on Human Trafficking along with Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey.  The task force was created during the 2009 legislative session to examine the scope of the human trafficking problem in Florida and to recommend strategies and actions for eliminating the unlawful trafficking of men, women and children in Florida.

Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, certified victims of human trafficking are eligible for refugee benefits. The Refugee Services office within the Department has played a key role in providing services to both adult and child victims.

Suspected trafficking can be reported to U.S. Department of Justice Trafficking in Persons and Worker Exploitation hotline at 1-888-428-7581 or local law enforcement.  Trafficking cases involving children can be reported to the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96ABUSE.