MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s the big reveal. A different kind of “traffic” report is about to be announced across Miami-Dade County. The message is Stop Child Sex Trafficking and it’s about to be emblazoned on billboards and bus stops across our community.
Miami- Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle led the charge at a press conference Monday.
“Our Miami children are being sold for sex in our community,” said Fernandez Rundle, who told CBS4 Chief Investigator Michele Gillen, “We are absolutely determined to rescue these girls.”
The billboard campaign has been kicked off in cities around the country. Companies including Clear Channel Outdoor, and CBS OUTDOOR, a sister company of WFOR, and Van Wagner were praised by Rundle Fernandez for donating hundreds of thousands of dollars-worth of advertising space.
Fernandez Rundle was flanked by business and civic leaders including Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Miami-Dade County Commission Chairwoman, Rebecca Sosa, and Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado. He was credited with sealing the billboard deal.
“It’s a huge donation. They are great community partners, they have stepped up to the plate and it’s important because victims are right here,” he told Gillen, stressing that the victim in a most recent case of a young girl allegedly forced to dance at a strip club, was from “Little Havana.”
All this has taken place amid recent headlines of local cases.
“We now have 240 cases. That’s a lot of victims,” announced Fernandez Rundle.
“One girl had a tattoo put on her eyelids.”
The centerpiece of the campaign is a new hotline number, (305) 350-5567.
The intake of calls will be handed by Switchboard of Miami.
Local contributors, through the Women’s Fund are helping to fund it and larger grants have been applied for Marilyn March, Executive Director the Woman’s Fund of Miami- Dade County, told Gillen.
“Our big event, the power of the purse is Wednesday, one person already earmarked a donation just for human trafficking.”
The focus on slavery hones in as much of the world’s attention is directed to the crisis of stolen girls in Nigeria. As described by Rundle Fernandez, “I like to stay faithful they are going to be found,”
“It’s a nightmare that resonates in this campaign?” asked Gillen. “Absolutely,” concluded the State Attorney.