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City And Non Profit Leaders Shine A Light On Human Trafficking

Florida Abolitionist website

City and non-profit leaders meet in Orlando today to draw attention to human trafficking.

Florida Abolitionist founder Tomas Lares said Central Florida’s growing population, and its popularity as a tourism destination make the region a target for traffickers.

“We are at a perfect storm here in Central Florida for these criminals to be exploiting both minors and adults, men, women, foreign-born and domestic victims,” said Lares.

According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, Florida is the number three state for reported human trafficking cases, and Orlando has the third highest rate of calls to the National Human Trafficking hotline.

“So that’s a positive thing, it doesn’t mean that Orlando has more human trafficking than Los Angeles or New York City,” said Lares.

“It means that our community is calling, reporting and really engaging, really taking ownership.”

Lares said in the coming months, Orlando will open the state’s first shelter for human trafficking victims.

“It is 100 per cent going to be dedicated to the trafficking issue, and all of the therapeutic and wrap around services for someone to get back into society or even out of that situation,” he said.

The shelter will cater to women 18 years and older. Orange County is funding the shelter, and Aspire Health Partners has the contract to run it.


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Matthew Peddie

About Matthew Peddie

Host of WMFE's Intersection & Assistant News Director

Matthew Peddie grew up in New Zealand and studied journalism at the University of Western Ontario. After graduating with an MA in Journalism he returned to Christchurch, working as a reporter for Radio Live and Radio New Zealand. He’s reported live from the scene of earthquakes, criminal trials and rugby ... Read Full Bio »