Florida law defines human trafficking as a form of modern-day slavery. Victims of human trafficking are young children, teenagers and adults. Thousands of victims are trafficked annually across international borders worldwide. Many of these victims are trafficked into this state. Victims of human trafficking also include citizens of the United States and those persons trafficked domestically within the borders of the United States.
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.
In 2016 and 2017, the Florida Abuse Hotline received 2,247 reports alleging human trafficking, according to the Florida Department of Children and Families. Of those, 1,680 were identified as “unique victims,” according to the agency. Since 2010 and 2011, when the hotline received 480 calls, the number of calls to the hotline has risen each year.
Children can be victims of human trafficking regardless of their citizenship, residency, or alien or immigrant status.
Types of Human Trafficking
In Florida, when a report is accepted at the Florida Abuse Hotline, maltreatment codes are captured that apply to two types of human trafficking: Sex and labor trafficking.
Sex trafficking is defined as a commercial sex act induced by force, fraud or coercion or in which the person induced to perform such act is under 18. Commercial sex acts include, but are not limited to, prostitution and/or pornography as a means for the perpetrator to make money. The mere fact the victim is a child and the act meets the definition of a commercial sex act makes the child a victim.
Labor trafficking is defined as "the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjecting that person to involuntary servitude, peonage (where someone is held against their will to pay off a debt), debt bondage or slavery."
Forced labor may result when unscrupulous employers exploit workers who are vulnerable due to:
- Citizenship Status
- Cultural Acceptance of the Practice
- High Rates of Unemployment
- Political Conflict
Victims of domestic servitude generally have an informal workplace such as a home, which often socially isolates domestic workers from the community. That type of informal workplace is conducive to exploitation since authorities cannot inspect private property as easily as they can inspect formal workplaces.