New 24/7 hotline intended to combat human trafficking ahead of Super Bowl
Law enforcement, South Florida congresswoman raise awareness of growing issue
MIAMI – U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., brought her human trafficking awareness tour to Miami Norland Senior High School on Wednesday morning to educate girls about how to identify predators and develop strategies to protect themselves from exploitation ahead of Super Bowl LIV, which will take place not far from the neighborhoods where they live.
"You're going to prove to them that you're strong," Wilson told them.
In downtown Miami, State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, the Miami Super Bowl LIV Host Committee, law enforcement officials and women's advocacy partners gathered to highlight a new 24/7 hotline and a plan to attack sex trafficking in South Florida.
"We need the community, when they see signs they're uncomfortable with, to reach out to us, to call this hotline, to text this hotline," Fernandez Rundle said.
The hotline is 305-FIX-STOP.
"Just because this is a big event that brings a lot of tourists in doesn't mean we're going to allow traffickers to bring in young men and young women to sell their bodies and be exploited that way," Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina said.
Warning signs that an individual is being trafficked:
- Signs of physical abuse such as burn marks, bruises or cuts
- Unexplained absences from class
- Less appropriately dressed than before
- Sexualized behavior
- Overly tired in class
- Withdrawn, depressed, distracted or checked out
- Brags about making or having lots of money
- Displays expensive clothes, accessories or shoes
- New tattoo (tattoos are often used by pimps as a way to brand victims. Tattoos of a name, symbol of money or barcode could indicate trafficking)
- Older boyfriend or new friends with a different lifestyle
- Talks about wild parties or invites other students to attend parties
- Shows signs of gang affiliation? (ie: a preference for specific colors, notebook doodles of gang symbols, etc.)
Super Bowl LIV will be played Feb. 2 at Hard Rock Stadium.
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