Last year’s 896 reports of human trafficking led to the identification of more than 600 trafficking businesses. That’s an increase from 2018 when the state had 760 reports of human trafficking.
Since 2007, Florida has had more than 4,600 reported cases of human trafficking, leading law enforcement to more than 12,400 victims across the state.
The problem continues to plague Florida as well as the rest of the country.
More than 22,000 victims were identified by the NHTH in 2019. Nearly 5,000 survived labor trafficking and an alarming 14,597 survived sex trafficking.
Many of those victims were teenagers.
According to a study of the 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 same study also found that the average age that a trafficked victim is first used for commercial sex is between 12 and 14 years old. Some victims are as young as 9 years old.
According to the Florida Dream Center, which provides aftercare for human trafficking victims, the life expectancy for a child taken into sex trafficking is only seven years from the date of capture.
Project GOLD Drop In Center
The Drop In Center is home to Project GOLD, a membership organization for girls who have been exposed to commercial sexual exploitation. The Center welcomes all sexually exploited girls, regardless of their current residential placement. It is a place where girls are empowered to find their strengths in a non-judging, healing environment.
Programming is based on the Victim, Survivor, Leader model of G.E.M.S. widely regarded as the forerunner in helping girls and young women escape sexual exploitation. Project GOLD is shaped and directed by survivor input, reflected in the program name created by founding clients.
The Drop In Center provides a home-like setting for engagement and delivery of restorative services, including case management, therapy, advocacy, transportation, educational and recreational enrichment. It provides an alternative to a dangerous life of abuse and exploitation.
MISCONCEPTION: Sensational, popular action films like Taken or viral conspiracies like Wayfair are accurate depictions of how sex trafficking occurs.
REALITY: Most sex traffickers prefer to develop relationships with their targets—sometimes virtually and sometimes in-person—in order to methodically groom and traffic them. Child sex trafficking often involves a person who knew the child or even a family member of the child.
REALITY: While it’s true that most victims of child sex trafficking are children of color or come from backgrounds of poverty or abuse, it is also absolutely true that trafficking can happen in any community, to children from stable home environments.