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"People think human trafficking takes place only in big cities" - why that's not always the case

Posted at 4:47 PM, Jun 13, 2024
  • A report by the Florida Department of Children and Families shows that there were 1,876 cases of abuse reported to its hotline from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.
  • Members of the Survive and Thrive Advocacy Center are working to bring more awareness about trafficking in rural communities.
  • You can report abuse, suspicions of abuse or trafficking to the state hotline at 1- 855-FLA-SAFE.
  • Watch the video to see how STAC is working with neighbors to prevent trafficking in all neighborhoods.

Broadcast Transcript:
"It's not talked about enough and it's going on right underneath our noses."

Lisa Hamilton is a registered nurse in Wakulla County who knows all too well the issues of trafficking in our neighborhoods.

"I think rural counties are prone to human traffickers because they are rural and maybe people will not pay attention to what's going on in other people's homes."

Each year the Florida Department of Children and Families issues a report of reported cases of abuse to the Florida Abuse Hotline.
In the October 2023 report there were 1,876 cases reported... with 1,506 involving children from July 1st , 2021, to June 30th 2022.

"People think human trafficking takes place only in big cities. They do not realize the prevalence in smaller communities like this and it's here and you heard that today, quite a few people said it's going on here."

Robin Hassler Thompson with Survive and Thrive Advocacy Centeris educating areas across the Big Bend about human trafficking and ways to spot it.

I attended one of the conversations offering education in this neighborhood.

"We have people from the community talking about their own experiences to each other as well as us being able to do some awareness about human trafficking and education."

The goal is to address common misconceptions about human trafficking through awareness and training.

STAC offers these services in 6 counties in the Big Bend.

Through attending those community conversations ....neighbors like Hamilton say they will work to pass on that knowledge to others.

"Anybody in the public needs to be aware of signs and symptoms and potential situations that might need to be reported."

If you know someone who has been a victim of trafficking or abuse or you suspect something, there is a state hotline for taking those calls. 1- 855-FLA-SAFE.