January 11th is National Human Traffic Awareness Day

According to the Crisis Aid International, thousands of young women and children have their innocence, their bodies, their spirit, their hope, their families, sometimes even their very lives ripped away from them daily. This horror sounds so heinous that most of us can’t imagine that this could happen here in the United States but this is the reality of what children and young adult sex trafficking victims are experiencing in communities across the United States right now.

What is Human Trafficking?

Human Trafficking occurs when a human being is sold, traded, transferred, or otherwise exchanged in some way for money, sex, labor, or other commodities.

Sex Trafficking

When a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age.

Labor Trafficking

The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. Erase Child Trafficking.

Where is Human Trafficking most common in Florida?

Human trafficking is the 3rd largest crime industry in the world. Out of the 50 states, Florida ranks 3rd in rate of human trafficking. Within the state, the Central Florida area ranks 3rd behind Miami and Tampa. Florida Alliance to End Human Trafficking.

In 2020, 50% of human trafficking victims were girls under the age of 18. Most are tricked into trafficking by age 14 and are groomed for a period of time before then. Unfortunately, they don’t realize they are being groomed by romantic “boyfriends,” social media con artists and even family members.

There are risk factors that abusers look for when grooming a victim. Common risks include:

Recognizing the Signs of Human Trafficking

Victims of human trafficking often cannot seek help on their own. That’s why it’s so critical for everyone to be aware of the signs. It’s especially important for those who work in public service or medical careers, as the nature of their work makes it more likely that they will come into contact with trafficking victims. Here are some of the red flags a person may be a trafficking victim:

How Can You Help?

Children and adults can be victims of human trafficking. "If you see something, say something."

Peggy Demetriou, FNP, APRN-BC Founder and CEO of Qvita Health and Wellness.

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