Sex trafficking campaign hopes to create awareness for growing problem in South Florida

For the next month, expect to see billboards and signs at bus stops attempts to making residents aware of a serious local problem as the city gets ready to welcome thousands for the Miami Grand Prix.

MIAMI – For the next month, expect to see billboards and signs at bus stops -- attempts to making residents aware of a serious local problem as the city gets ready to welcome thousands for the Miami Grand Prix.

(The Women's Fund)

“We have been able to file over 771 human trafficking-related criminal cases in the last eight to 10 years,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said.

According to CEO of Kristi House, Amanda Altman, labor trafficking and sex trafficking are big issues in South Florida.

She says Florida is number three in the country for reported cases of human trafficking and Miami-Dade is number one in the state.

Most of the cases they see are minors, some as young as 11.

“Eleven to 13 is the age where they often get into this life,” Altman said.

She says South Florida is a hot spot because we have multiple airports, ports and we are a major tourist destination, which means lots of visitors and lots of money.

Altman says these are the signs to look out for:

  • Watch how people interact; notice if they act like they’re withdrawn.
  • Be suspicious of vast age differences in couples.
  • People trying to get hotel rooms by the hour.
  • Victims are not all foreigners.

“Most of the women who are at our drop in centers are actually girls who grew up here in Miami, in South Florida,” Altman said.

The Miami-Dade Police Department conducted 145 human trafficking investigations, of which resulted in 13 arrests.

To report suspected human trafficking, or to get help if you are a victim, please use the following resources:

State Attorney’s Office Human Trafficking Hotline: 305-FIX-STOP (305-349-7867) or https://humantrafficking.miamisao.com/.


About the Author:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.