Florida has a new hotline for reporting human trafficking if you see it

The Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about what’s been going on in the state.

Human trafficking is a serious issue and there is a new initiative from the Attorney General’s office.

Moody said, “One of my priorities coming into office back in 2018, was to not just bring the public’s attention to human trafficking, but actually instituting programs where we could be more effective in identifying victims, rescuing those victims and putting traffickers behind bars where they belong. In that work, we did a lot of work in establishing a structure and a network to build up law enforcement teams to respond effectively to the National Human Trafficking Hotline tips that came in and more recently, we determined that they were no longer reporting those tips to law enforcement. So we have lost our own statewide hotline here in Florida.”

A new CEO on the hotline changed some things.

Moody said, “It’s a nonprofit that runs the National Human Trafficking Hotline, and a new CEO took over and made one of these decisions after saying that we can’t arrest our way out of human trafficking, which was really an interesting point of view. Traffickers belong behind bars. So here in Florida, we said, look, that’s not going to work for us, we’re not willing to experiment with new criminal justice, crazy, unproven dangerous policies. So we’re going to continue to ask citizens to report to law enforcement so that we can rescue victims, get them on a path to a healthier, stronger life and put traffickers behind bars. So we launched a Florida specific hotline, it’s 855-FLA-SAFE. If anyone has any information on trafficking, where we can identify victims or go after traffickers, please report to that number. I can tell you we have people standing by ready to go. I just announced another action this week, down in South Florida, where we arrested a woman who had been keeping others drugged with highly addictive substances, drugging them throughout the day, and forcing them into human trafficking with the promise of only giving them drugs if they did so and keeping all the money. This goes on every day, not just in the Keys, but elsewhere throughout Florida. And we need folks to report it when they see it.”

Moody wants to help keep Floridians safe.

She said, “My experience as a federal prosecutor and judge and my relationship in building important cases with law enforcement not only informs what I do on a daily basis as Attorney General, it had a large part to do in why I left the bench after a decade to seek the opportunity to be Florida’s Attorney General. Every time we do something that’s proactive and makes the state safer, just by knowing the issues and dedicating the time and resources to building things differently here in Florida, I am mindful of the opportunity that I’ve been given by everyone and just so you know, and I hope all of your listeners understand, not just as it relates to human trafficking, but in so many areas as it relates to public safety, Florida is a leader nationally. People are looking to our state and what we’ve been able to accomplish here in terms of law enforcement and staying on the right path in safety and criminal justice efforts. So I thank you, I think everyone for trusting, not just me, but the other leaders here in Florida, to get it right and lead the other states around this nation on proven policies and going after the bad guys and making sure law abiding citizens are safe in their community.”

What are some warning signs that should be reported to the new human trafficking hotline?

Moody said, “Generally, I would advise anyone that’s listening that wants to be more a part of being educated and reporting on human trafficking, you can go to, youcanstopht.com. It’s a website where we lay out more information on how you can be a part. We also encourage businesses to train their employees and become part of what we call our 100% Club. That means businesses that are committed to training their employees on how to spot human trafficking, but just throwing out some of the main indicators, if someone seems to be under the control of someone else, meaning they look to them before they speak, they don’t interact with others before the other one gives them permission. Sometimes there can be brands, we’ve had victims that are actually branded with tattoos that look like either identifications or numbers, open injuries that can’t be explained. There are so many of these signs, and look, not one or both will always be indicative of human trafficking, but knowing what to look for and knowing where to report it has helped us save a lot of people throughout this country. If anybody wants more information they could go to youcanstopht.com.”

At any given time there are 27.6 million victims of human trafficking worldwide.

Moody said, “In Florida, we’ve been real focused on trying to train the people who might have interactions because we’ve seen rescues when we train transportation drivers or hotel workers or airline employees. We’ve seen victims rescued in these areas. There’s a really moving story where a truck driver spotted something at a truck stop and reported it and the victim was rescued. These are real life situations, not just in movies, and it’s happening right here in the United States of America. It’s so important that we understand it’s going on. One of the first battles is just making sure the public understands that this happens and we need to be aware of it and then confront it head on. It’s not an easy topic to talk about, but certainly one that we’re not going to shy away from and we’re going to aggressively go after traffickers and put them behind bars.”

For more information, click here: https://www.youcanstopht.com/