FSU faculty says thousands of immigrants have become victims of forced labor in Florida cities, and Tallahassee isn't excluded from the list.
For the past year, faculty within FSU's Human Rights Center has been studying human trafficking in Florida calling it modern day slavery.
It’s believed 18 to 50,000 immigrants are illegally smuggled into the u-s every year and then forced into prostitution, domestic servitude, or migrant farm work.
“They are victims, but they don't know they are victims. They come here looking for a better life. They found themselves in this situation instead,” says Graciela Graciela Marquina, FSU research assistant.
Florida ranks third in the nation for human trafficking. Researchers say investigations have even surfaced involving cleaning services in Tallahassee.
“There's no reason to think its not happening in Tallahassee. It’s believed the Russian mafia has their hold in certain industries in the panhandle,” says Robin Thompson, FSU Human Rights Center.
From here FSU plans to offer training to victim advocates, social workers and law enforcement officers. Their hope is, the greater the awareness the more likely the cases will be reported and prosecuted.