Posted on WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO on January 27, 2014—
“Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, along with Terry Coonan of Florida State University’s Center for the Advancement of Human Rights, hosted the first anti-human trafficking workshop in Orlando on Monday.
Bondi said human trafficking is a $32 billion business worldwide and that more than 27 million people are enslaved, nearly two million in the sunshine state.
In 2011, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center ranked Florida 3rd in the number of calls received by the center’s human trafficking hotline.
Victims of human trafficking include children, women and men who are subjected to sexual exploitation or forced labor through force, fraud or coercion. Bondi said she is dedicated to making Florida a zero-tolerance state for human trafficking.
“Most of the sex victims are girls, little girls between the ages of 12 and 14. That’s why this is very important to us,” she said.
Bondi believes that businesses are uniquely positioned to help stop human trafficking, by ensuring there is no human trafficking within their supply chains and by training employees to recognize the signs of human trafficking.
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacob’s said the reason we have a problem here are two of Central Florida’s biggest attributes: the convention center and tourism.
“As great as our convention center is, we have certain conventions that, when they’re here, we have such a family-friendly community, such a low tolerance for adult entertainment and prostitution, that there are folks that prey on that,” said Jacobs. “They bring in these young women for certain conventions, so we have to be aware of that.”
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said that last year, the county investigated 48 reports of human trafficking, 30 of which involved minors.
“Two weeks ago, we had a case where a 14-year-old girl was found to be forced into prostitution,” said Demings. “In some cases, we actually see them where they’re out, involved in street walking in various locations.”
Bondi said the state is working with hotel and motel associations, truckers’ unions and business leaders. She is asking experts in the field to teach them how to recognize possible signs of trafficking.
“Do they look like they’re being controlled? Are there signs of fear? Are they not in control of their own documents?”
To view Attorney General Bondi’s Zero-Tolerance for Human Trafficking Toolkit for businesses, click here.”
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