It’s time to eradicate the modern day slavery that is human trafficking. It’s a serious crime against humanity that violates the most basic human rights and deprives victims of their freedom, and cases are creeping up in both urban and rural communities throughout the country. Making matters more concerning, South Florida leads the nation in cases. It’s critical that perpetrators know that “our children are not for sale.” For those reasons, human trafficking is one of the many topics covered in the Broward AWARE, Protecting Our Children campaign.

Criminalized under both federal and Florida law, human trafficking is defined as the transporting, soliciting, recruiting, harboring, providing, or obtaining of another person for transport; for the purposes of forced labor; domestic servitude or sexual exploitation using force, fraud and/or coercion. If the sex trafficking victim is under the age of 18, it is human trafficking regardless of whether force, fraud and/or coercion exist.

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According to the Broward Human Trafficking Coalition, a community partner of the Children’s Services Council of Broward County, statistics from January – April 2015 indicated that certain populations of children are at the greatest risk for becoming victims of human trafficking.

  • 31% of children staffed were dependent children (in foster care)
  • 75% of children had a DJJ delinquent history
  • 86% of children had a runaway history
  • 81% of children had a current substance/alcohol abuse history

 

According to Florida Statute, human trafficking affects all sectors of our community and victims can be found in plain sight if we learn to identify the signs and take the time to look. Some traffickers keep their victims under lock and key. However, the most frequently used practices are less obvious techniques that include: isolating victims from the public and family members, confiscating passports, visas, or other identification documents, using or threatening to use violence toward victims or their families, prohibiting them from seeing their children, telling victims that they will be imprisoned or deported for immigration violations if they contact authorities, and controlling the victims’ funds by holding the money ostensibly for safekeeping.

So how do we fight human trafficking in our Broward neighborhoods?

  • Volunteer with organizations like the Broward Human Trafficking Coalition to help spread awareness on this issue to our communities (to both adults and kids).
  • If you have information regarding suspected Human Trafficking of a child in Broward County, please contact the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE. The Florida Abuse Hotline accepts reports 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

 

About Broward AWARE!

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Families deserve to live in communities with resources and information that provide safe and healthy experiences for children…and children deserve to enjoy a childhood allowing for safe play, learning and nurturing. 

Broward AWARE, Protecting Our Children combines the efforts of dozens of agencies engaged in the prevention of child abuse and neglect or the healing of its effects to provide the community with the resources necessary to keep our children safe.

Upcoming Broward AWARE! Event:

  • Family Fun & Resource Fair
  • Saturday, April 16, 2016
  • 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
  • Rev. Samuel Delevoe Memorial Park
  • 2520 NW 6th St., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311
  • Flier: http://bit.ly/1Ra5EXA

 

As part of the Family Fun & Resource Fair, members of the Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) will be in attendance with their first-of-its-kind mobile exhibit. This exhibit provides FDP with premiere tool in educating members of the trucking industry and general public about the realities of domestic sex trafficking and how the truck industry is combating it. From its outside wrap, to the climate controlled interior, which includes a theatre station, actual artifacts from trafficking cases that connect people to the back stories of so many who end up enslaved in our country, to portraits of the real Truckers Against Trafficking and how each is working to end human trafficking, this trailer provides many with their first glimpse into human trafficking, as well as simple action steps anyone can take immediately walking out of it.

The Children’s Services Council of Broward County is an independent taxing authority which was established by a public referendum on September 5, 2000, and reauthorized via referendum on November 4, 2014, which, through Public Act, Chapter 2000-461 of the laws of Florida, authorized the Council to levy up to 0.5 mills of property taxes. The role of the Council is to provide the leadership, advocacy and resources necessary to enhance children’s lives and empower them to become responsible, productive adults through collaborative planning and funding of a continuum of quality care. To learn more about programs and services the Children’s Services Council funds, please call (954) 377-1000.

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Above content provided by Children’s Services Council of Broward County.