In an effort to highlight his commitment to end human trafficking in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott will be visiting support facilities in both Tampa and Miami next week.
Scott’s tour will include prevention and recovery resources to discuss increased funding to programs promoting awareness and prevention of human trafficking.
According to statistics provided from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHRTC), one third of all runaways are exploited for commercial sex or pornography. The life expectancy of a child sold for sex is on average seven years, and traffickers can sell children as many as 15 times per day. Traffickers use a variety of coercion — violence, threats and lies – to force individuals to work against their will.
Other NHRTC data shows that 84% of Southwest Florida human trafficking inquiries concern women and children; 66% of NHTRC Southwest Florida inquiries concern sex trafficking.
“As a father and a grandfather,” Scott said, “I want to do everything in my power to protect the most vulnerable. Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and is a devastating reality, but we are blessed with wonderful groups around Florida whose mission and goal it is to end the exploitation of those trapped in human trafficking and to rehabilitate the brave survivors of this horrific crime.”
Florida’s record $77 billion state budget, which Scott signed June 2, includes $3 million committed for safe houses and rehabilitative services to protect children victimized by human trafficking. These services relate to community-based care, as well as identity protection for victims of human trafficking.
The 2014-2015 budget also provides $6 million to recruit volunteers as representatives for more than 2,000 vulnerable children through court proceedings. Another $2 million was allocated to the PACE Center for Girls.
“We will continue to invest the resources to end this tragedy and punish those responsible,” Scott added. “We must be bold in our efforts and not relent until the evil of human trafficking ends.”