Newsroom

Press Release

State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Rick Scott
Governor

David E. Wilkins
Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 11, 2012
MEDIA CONTACT:
Erin Gillespie, Press Secretary, DCF Communications, (850) 717-4450
C.J. Drake, DJJ Communications Director, (850) 921-5905

LEGISLATORS RECEIVE BLUE RIBBONS FOR NATIONAL HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS DAY
~ State agencies partner with Legislature to bring awareness to this modern-day slavery ~

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. – The Florida Department of Children and Families and the Department of Juvenile Justice will be handing out blue ribbons to legislators today in observance of National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. The ribbons are attached to cards describing human trafficking and how Legislators can help.

The cards read: "Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. It affects children, adults, U.S. citizens, residents, and foreign nationals alike. More specifically, it affects Florida’s children. … Already, state statutes provide greater penalties for perpetrators of child sex trafficking; bills to help protect exploited children continue to be filed; and, both DCF and DJJ are exploring ways to identify and address the needs of this unique population."

"In just the past year, more than 400 Florida kids were reported as potential human trafficking victims," said DJJ Secretary Wansley Walters, chair of the Human Trafficking Workgroup of the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet. "That statistic just makes me wonder how many more children are being trafficked without our knowledge. This month and all year long, we will continue to send the message that our children are not for sale."

Human trafficking is modern-day slavery through forced labor, debt bondage, involuntary servitude, forced marriage, and commercial sexual exploitation. Statistics rank Florida as the third most popular trafficking destination in the country. Half of all trafficking victims are children. DCF and DJJ are committed to efforts to abolish human trafficking in Florida.

"Nobody in this state or nation should endure this hideous treatment," said DCF Secretary David Wilkins, chair of the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet. "Florida is a national leader in the fight against human trafficking and in the battle to protect all children. With the help of law enforcement and the public, we can punish those responsible and help the victims."

On Jan. 31, the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet will observe National Human Trafficking Awareness Month during its 1 p.m. meeting in the Capitol Cabinet Meeting Room. Statewide coalitions are also bringing awareness to the problem of human trafficking throughout the month of January. To see more statewide human trafficking events, please go to: http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/newsroom/pressreleases/20120106_EventsAround.shtml.

###