History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.
— Mary Angelou - Poet, Author, Civil Rights Activist

A Global Epidemic in our backyard

  • Approximately 20,000 individuals are trafficked INTO the U.S. from other countries each year.

  • It is estimated that there are approximately 27 million slaves around the world.

  • Women and children are still the favored target of human trafficking each year. They comprise 80% of the total number of people being trafficked.

Next to drug trafficking, human trafficking is the most lucrative business for organized crime. Recent estimates show that the human trafficking business yields approximately $9 billion in profits each year. Unlike drugs and arms traffickers, human traffickers can continue to exploit their victims after the initial point of sale. Traffickers hold their victims by physically isolating or guarding them as well as coercing them psychologically. 

Florida is one of the top three "destination states" within the U.S. for trafficking. It's not Florida's beautiful scenery that draws them but rather industrial sectors such as a large service industry, agriculture and the presence of large airports, coastlines and other transit ports that make our state attractive to traffickers. In the past 5 years, law enforcement and social service providers have identified multiple cases of human trafficking in the Clearwater, Pinellas County and the Tampa Bay area. And the numbers continue to climb.

Source: Clearwater/Tampa Bay Area Task Force on Human Trafficking  http://www.catfht.org/

commercial sex operations

Sex trafficking comprises a significant portion of overall human trafficking. When a person is coerced, forced, or deceived into prostitution, or maintained in prostitution through coercion, that person is a victim of trafficking. All of those involved in recruiting, transporting, harboring, receiving, or obtaining the person for that purpose have committed a trafficking crime. 

Source: http://www.state.gov/

CHILD Sex trafficking 

According to UNICEF, as many as two million children are subjected to prostitution in the global commercial sex trade. International covenants and protocols obligate criminalization of the commercial sexual exploitation of children. The use of children in the commercial sex trade is prohibited under both U.S. law and the UN TIP Protocol. There can be no exceptions and no cultural or socioeconomic rationalizations that prevent the rescue of children from sexual servitude. Sex trafficking has devastating consequences for minors, including long-lasting physical and psychological trauma, disease (including HIV/ AIDS), drug addiction, unwanted pregnancy, malnutrition, social ostracism, and possible death

Source: http://www.state.gov/

forced labor

The majority of human trafficking in the world takes the form of forced labor, according to the ILO’s estimate on forced labor. Also known as involuntary servitude, forced labor may result when unscrupulous employers take advantage of gaps in law enforcement to exploit vulnerable workers. These workers are made more vulnerable to forced labor practices because of high rates of unemployment, poverty, crime, discrimination, corruption, political conflict, and cultural acceptance of the practice. Immigrants are particularly vulnerable, but individuals are also forced into labor in their own countries. Female victims of forced or bonded labor, especially women and girls in domestic servitude, are often sexually exploited as well.

Source: http://www.state.gov/


A unique form of forced labor is that of involuntary domestic workers, whose workplace is informal, connected to their off-duty living quarters, and not often shared with other workers. Such an environment is conducive to exploitation since authorities cannot inspect private property as easily as they can inspect formal workplaces. In some countries, large numbers of local children, often from less developed rural areas of the country, labor in urban households as domestic servants. Some of them may be vulnerable to conditions of involuntary servitude.

Foreign migrants, usually women, are recruited from less developed countries in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America to work as domestic servants and caretakers in more developed locations like the Gulf States, the Levant, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Europe, and the United States. But many of these places do not provide domestic servants the same legal protections that they provide for foreign workers in other sectors.

Source: http://www.state.gov/