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Florida cracking down on Human Trafficking
ESCAMBIA COUNTY -- Florida's Attorney General, Pam Bondi is cracking down on human trafficking. There are 27 million human trafficking victims worldwide. In 2011, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center ranked Florida third in the nation for the number of calls on its human trafficking hotline.
The Attorney General's Office is doing a statewide awareness campaign about human trafficking to combat the problem.
Human trafficking victims can be children, women and men. They are often forced or tricked into sexual exploitation like prostitution. Victims can also find themselves doing forced labor.
The Attorney General's Office wants to make Florida a zero-tolerance state for human trafficking.
The awareness campaign will have its message spread throughout billboards, in malls, bus shelters and rest stops.
"I didn't know that still went on until you see those ads on TV, it's sad" said Lisa Sheldon, Escambia County.
Human traffickers recruit victims online and can prey on vulnerable kids.
Parents are urged to monitor their children's activity online and talk to them about sexual abuse.
"They still need to do newscasts, put it in the newspapers and tell the schools, high school, middle schools and elementary, colleges, hospitals because you know they've got to go to the clinic" said Christina Hoogland, Escambia County.
Brad Dennis is the director for Pensacola's Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition.
He's glad to see the awareness campaign in full force.
"It's good to put the legislation out there, and it's good to turn on all of the stakeholders, but we don't find the victims unless it comes from the community" said Brad Dennis, Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition.
On the Attorney General's website, children can sign the pledge for online safety to help fight against human trafficking.