The week before Hurricane Irma, I attended a summit on Human Trafficking that involved not only educators, but members of local law enforcement, the FBI, state representatives and advocates from D.C. and across the country. I personally had a much different perception before the summit on what “human trafficking” consisted of (insert visions of the movie, Taken), however it happens right in our own backyard everyday without our knowledge. Florida reports some of the highest numbers of children involved in trafficking—and it is not just females—nor is it just a certain age, demographic, socioeconomic status, etc—although the average age of the victims are 12-14. Many are now recruited through social media, online gaming (this includes the chats during Xbox or other systems), malls, school or work.
Some signs that may indicate a bigger issue include:
Resources to learn more or start the conversations:
Screen Recordings with iOS 11 update (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/09/20/ios-11-has-introduced-snapchat-loophole-allowing-people-secretly/)
www.MillionKids.org (see also book: Seduced by Opal Singleton)
www.ptwfoundation.com (Paving The Way Foundation)
www.savannahparvu.com (Survivor Leader)
Docufilm Trapped - in the sex trade
Did you know that approximately 68 children a hour, under the age of 18, are lured, coerced and romanced into the world of sex trafficking in the United States?
I didn't either.
As a mom…..that is not ok with me and I would imagine that is not ok with you either.
Hi, my name is Jan Edwards and I’m the President and CEO of Paving the Way and I’m committed to keeping kids safe and empowering them to not be a victim.
Two years ago I was invited to go to Ethiopia to do vision screenings and wow were my eyes opened to a whole new world. I learned that Ethiopia is the number one source of people being trafficked into the Middle East. I didn’t even know what trafficking was…
When I got home, our team began to do some research and imagine how shocked we were when we discovered this is a huge problem in our own state, let alone our own hometown .. In fact, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, Florida has the 3rd highest number of sex trafficking victims in the US, only behind California and Texas.
That translates to 4 children an hour being sexually exploited in the city beautiful.*
Not ok with us - that's thousands of lives lost to this silent crime.
Another frightening fact, the average age is just 12 years old.
How can that be? We live in Happiest Place on Earth!!
We were stunned.
So, we went after the facts and interviewed officers at the FBI, the Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement, local police and survivors of sex trafficking asking - how can this happen?
More importantly, what's missing that will make THE difference.
Here's what we discovered awareness is missing. We’ve got to raise awareness!!!!
68 children an hour across the US become trapped in this world. Imagine the lives and human potential lost. YOU can help us stop this.
Our children’s future is in your hands.
*National Human Trafficking Resource Center 2015 Reports
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I am a Health Education major from the University of Florida, with background experience in adult education working with our local hospital for women and babies. A mother of three with a deeply rooted commitment to my students. I strive to promote healthy lifestyles and awareness.