Engaged in Fight against Human Trafficking
January 09, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 9, 2015
Contact: Communications Office
TALLAHASSEE—January 11 is Human Trafficking Awareness Day and the Florida Department of Health continues to work on its efforts to bring awareness to this travesty. It is estimated that more than 20 million men, women and children around the world are victims of human trafficking. Statistics rank Florida as the third highest trafficking destination in the country, with half of all trafficking victims under the age of 18.
“The Florida Department of Health works to protect the health and ensure the safety of all Floridians,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. “The Department is committed to working with state and local partners, community organizations and all Floridians to eliminate human trafficking.”
Human Trafficking is a form of modern day slavery from which traffickers profit from the control and exploitation of others. Criminalized under both federal and state law, it is defined as the transporting, soliciting, recruiting, harboring, providing, or obtaining of another person for transport; for the purposes of forced labor, domestic servitude or sexual exploitation using force, fraud and/or coercion. Victims of trafficking may experience a host of health-related problems and are at high risk of injury, illness and even death from the circumstances of their forced treatment and bondage.
With offices in all 67 counties, human trafficking has the potential to bring victims into contact with the systems and services the Department provides. As part of a comprehensive approach, executive leadership, led by Deputy Secretary Marty Stubblefield, along with health program staff have established a strategic plan for addressing human trafficking with activities focused on developing training and resources. These awareness and training tools are expected to be used by Department employees across the state to help them be equipped with recognizing and addressing human trafficking in Florida’s many unique and diverse communities.
The Department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.