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She claimed she was abused. Twenty-four teens and preteens, sandwiched into a van with half as many seatbelts. On the floor.
Sent into strange communities without food or water to sell cheap goods so their bosses could pocket the profit. A tragedy in the making, officials called it.
United States Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla.
Traffickers exploit another person for labor or sexual purposes, often pocketing a big profit. The victims are most often young men or women, but can be adults, said Dr.
That can be children trying to buy sneakers, or people from third-world countries who end up as indentured servants.
Traffickers often prey on people of low social and economic status; children who are runaways or lonely, for example. The victims can appear submissive and may suffer injuries or be malnourished.
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Treatment coordinator Erin Wirsing hears stories of victims who are vulnerable, or who are tricked or threatened by people who appear to care for them.
Eventually, the victims feel like they owe something.
She recalled a girl who came to Devereux at 16 after being exploited. The girl had been in and out of group homes and met a man who offtered her food and a place to stay in exchange for sex.
She got mad, but went home with him anyway. But police, service providers and community organizations are stepping forward to increase awareness and, they hope, crack down.
Davis said areas like Orlando, Tampa and Miami have taken a more proactive approach to cracking down on human trafficking. As a result, traffickers move into other areas, such as Brevard, where there is lForida as tight a watch.
They had been in Brevard County before; and the leaders had skirted prosecution in Pinellas County years prior. They continued their enterprise despite labor law violations and fines from the state.
We have to look at, not when does it come to Brevard, but where is it in Brevard. While Floridz criminal case against the two leaders has yet to unfold, Jones said the arrests were a step toward awareness.
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For more information on human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at or go to www.