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Human Trafficking Prevention Month

By Arielle Myers

January 02, 2019

January is Human Trafficking Prevention Month and the Florida Department of Health in Collier County (DOH-Collier) is committed to raising awareness and promoting action against human trafficking. Human trafficking is a human rights violation and form of modern-day slavery. An estimated 14,500-17,500 individuals are trafficked in the United States each year, where 80 percent are women and children. Florida is the 3rd highest trafficking destination in the country, with half of all victims younger than 18 years old.

Human trafficking involves exploiting a person for labor, services, or commercial sex through force, fraud, or coercion. Anyone can become victims of human trafficking; however, traffickers prey on those who are vulnerable, living in an unsafe or unstable situation, or in search of a better life. In many cases, victims are deceived by false promises and forced, lured, or blackmailed into working in undesirable situations with little or no pay. Victims can be in plain view or hidden behind closed doors, so it is important that “if you see something, say something.”

There are common indicators that can help identify a human trafficking victim that include:

  • Avoids eye contact
  • Shows signs of being denied food, water, sleep, or medical care
  • Not allowed to speak for themselves or a third party insists on being present
  • Has inconsistencies in his/her story
  • Child that has stopped attending school
  • Bruises in various stages of healing
  • Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, nervous, or paranoid
  • Few or no personal possessions

It is important to remain vigilant to keep our community safe from human trafficking. If you have information about a potential trafficking situation or believe you are the victim of a trafficking situation, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-373-7888.