Crime I WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

New Webpage and Summit to Raise Awareness on Human Trafficking

By: Attorney General's Office Release; DCF Release Email
By: Attorney General's Office Release; DCF Release Email

Tallahassee, FL - September 25, 2012

More than 250 concerned state and community leaders and advocates attended the first Florida Children and Youth Cabinet Human Trafficking Summit to learn about trafficking in Florida, what the state is doing to prevent it and what people can do to help victims in their own communities. Another 300 individuals participated in the online webcast of the event

Human trafficking is modern-day slavery through forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Statistics rank Florida as the third highest trafficking destination in the country, and half of all trafficking victims are children. Across America, almost 300,000 youth are at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation. Many are being trafficked in our own communities.

"With tough new laws on the books, we are sending the clear message that we will not tolerate human trafficking in Florida," said Attorney General Pam Bondi. "Florida is third in the nation in calls to the national human trafficking hotline. We cannot allow criminals to exploit our women, men and children."

Attorney General Bondi participated in the summit with Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins and Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Wansley Walters. The summit was held in partnership with the Florida State University Center for the Advancement of Human Rights.

“Florida’s fight against human trafficking has made this state a national leader, especially concerning children who are victims,” said DCF Secretary David Wilkins, who is also chair of the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet. "What's starting now is a real grassroots effort. Communities across Florida are coming together to help survivors overcome their past."

In June, Florida became a pioneer in the battle against this complex and difficult issue. Gov. Rick Scott signed House Bill 99, The Safe Harbor Act, which provides services to help victims who have been sexually exploited. In addition, Gov. Scott also signed House Bill 7049, which gives prosecutors the ability to better fight this despicable crime by imposing tougher penalties.

“Now we will have the types of facilities and services available to make these children whole again,” said DJJ Secretary Wansley Walters. “We will wrap our arms around these troubled victims and bring them back to the life they deserve to have."

Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. The goal of the Human Trafficking Summit is to start a statewide conversation among community leaders, child advocates, students and professionals about the status of human trafficking in our communities and find ways that communities can come together to stop it. Breakout panels at the summit included law enforcement, service providers, human trafficking experts and survivors.

Several Floridians were honored for their efforts to stop human trafficking and help victims.
· Rep. Erik Fresen – Florida Safe Harbor Act Bill Sponsor
· State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle – Prosecutor of the Year
· Tonja Marshall, Group Supervisor for the Department of Homeland Security – Law Enforcement Official of the Year
· Trudy Novivki, Executive Director of Kristi House, and Sandy Skelaney, Program Manager at Kristi House – Advocates of the Year

For more information about the summit, or to view the webcast starting tomorrow, please go to www.flgov.com/humantraffickingsummit. To see the Twitter feed from the event, search #trafficking2012. If you are aware of any individual who is being abused or exploited, please call the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-962-2873.
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Tallahassee, FL - September 18, 2012

WHO: Attorney General Pam Bondi, Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins, Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Wansley Walters, Florida Children & Youth Cabinet, Florida State University Center for the Advancement of Human Rights

WHAT: The goal of the summit is to start a statewide conversation among community leaders, child advocates, students and professionals about the status of human trafficking in our communities. Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world and is a form of modern-day slavery. Several Floridians working to combat human trafficking in our state will also be recognized.

WHEN: September 24, 1-6 p.m.
· 1-2:20 p.m.: Welcome, Awards and Keynote
· 2:20-4:30 p.m.: Panels and Breakout Sessions
· 4:40-6 p.m.: Movie Presentation: “Very Young Girls”

WHERE: Turnbull Conference Center
Florida State University
555 W. Pensacola St.
Tallahassee

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Go to www.flgov.com/humantraffickingsummit for more information or to sign up for the interactive webcast if you cannot attend.

Whether you are in the conference room, classroom or living room, you can ask questions on Twitter by including #humantrafficking2012 and on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/QaWuyJ. Summit staff will monitor your questions and pose them to panelists at the end of each breakout session.

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Tallahassee, FL - September 18, 2012

Attorney General Pam Bondi today launched a new webpage dedicated to raising awareness about human trafficking and recent efforts to make Florida a zero-tolerance state for human trafficking. Attorney General Bondi worked with the Florida Legislature to pass laws that enhance penalties and provide additional measures to stop human trafficking. To access this new webpage, please visit MyFloridaLegal.com.

“Human trafficking is an abhorrent crime that exploits women, men and children,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi. “We now have tougher criminal penalties and enhanced tools to help law enforcement, prosecutors and regulators stop these criminal enterprises.”

Additionally, Attorney General Bondi will attend the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet Human Trafficking Summit on Monday, Sept. 24. The Summit is intended to start a statewide conversation among community members, students, advocates and professionals about the status of human trafficking in our state. For more information on the Summit, please visit:
http://www.flgov.com/humantraffickingsummit/.

Human trafficking is a $32 billion industry that exploits women, men and children. Attorney General Bondi is dedicated to partnering with federal, state and local leaders to end this crisis. Attorney General Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution will prosecute cases of human trafficking to the fullest extent of the law.


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