|January 8, 2014
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and Attorney General Pam Bondi has partnered with the Florida Department of Transportation to spread the anti-human trafficking message along Florida’s major roadways. Attorney General Pam Bondi has worked to raise awareness about the prevalence of human trafficking and to encourage people to report it. Expanding her “From Instant Message to Instant Nightmare” awareness initiative, which Attorney General Bondi launched in 2013, Attorney General Bondi has worked with the DOT to display posters in rest areas across Florida this month.
“Raising awareness about the prevalence of human trafficking is key to combating this horrific crime. By expanding our initiative to include posters in Florida’s rest areas, I am hopeful that more people will report suspected cases to local law enforcement,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, after drug dealing, trafficking of humans is tied with arms dealing as the second-largest criminal industry in the world, generating about $32 billion each year.
Many victims of human trafficking are forced to work in prostitution or other areas of the sex industry. Trafficking also occurs in forms of labor exploitation, such as domestic servitude, restaurant work, janitorial work, sweatshop factory work and migrant agricultural work.
According to a study of U.S. Department of Justice human trafficking task force cases, 83 percent of sex trafficking victims identified in the United States were U.S. citizens. The average age that U.S. citizens are first used for commercial sex is 12–14.
According to the Polaris Project, signs of human trafficking can include:
· Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior
o Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
o Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement
o Avoids eye contact
· Poor Physical Health
o Lacks health care
o Appears malnourished
o Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture
· Lack of Control
o Has few or no personal possessions
o Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account
o Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
o Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)
For more information about Attorney General Bondi’s efforts to end human trafficking in Florida, please click here.