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Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery that involves the exploitation of vulnerable persons for commercial sex, forced labor, involuntary servitude, along with various other forms of human trafficking such as, organ trafficking and forced marriage. Additionally, these trafficked victims have an inability to extricate themselves from the situation because the trafficker uses force, fraud, or coercion to control them & their circumstances.

Human trafficking is the second largest criminal enterprise in the world, just behind the illegal drug trade, netting billions of dollars worldwide annually. Many recent reporting agencies find human trafficking to be the fastest growing criminal enterprise worldwide.

There are over 40.3 million victims held in slavery in the world today; more than any other time in history. It is estimated between 500 ,000 and 2 million victims are trafficked annually worldwide with an estimated 15,000 to 18,000 being trafficked into the United States alone.

On a local scale, and according to national human trafficking hotline tips and complaints, Florida ranks as third in the reporting of human trafficking, with the Tampa Bay area usually amongst the top three in the state.

Possible indications and/or warning signs of victims in human trafficking include:

  • Constantly accompanied by a controlling person or boss; not speaking on their own behalf.
  • Lack of control over personal schedule, money, identification, or travel documents.
  • Transported to and from work; lives and works in the same place.
  • Debt owed to employer/crew leader; unable to leave job.
  • Bruises, depression, fear, and/or overly submissive.
  • Clothing and/or accessories not age appropriate or overly sexualized.

If you think you have come in contact with, or have met a victim of human trafficking, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888)3737-888, or if emergency assistance is needed call *911.

For more information please visit the FREE Network website, Department of Homeland Security, Blue Campaign, or Polaris Project.

Additional information can be found on the Florida State Attorney General's website.