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Orange Co. Leaders To Discuss Human Trafficking Program

Photo: FBI.gov

More support for victims of human trafficking in Orange County could be on the way. County commissioners will hear more details Tuesday about a pilot program.

The six-month pilot would dedicate 10 beds and wrap-around services for human trafficking victims. Orange County has invested $250,000 in the pilot, which is expected to have a price tag of more than $800,000.

The program would give victims a safe place to stay while they get services including counseling. Experts say safe havens are important to keep victims off the grid and away from traffickers – in this area, predominately sex traffickers – while they get help.

Lui Damiani is executive director of Victim Service Center of Central Florida. He said the center saw some 20 human trafficking cases last year.

“We see people from all various walks of life, different socioeconomic status, race…it’s not a one-size-fits-all,” said Damiani.

Human trafficking has a ripple effect that can destroy the victim’s life and harm friends and family, Damiani said, and it’s hard to know the true scope of the problem since some human trafficking victims don’t identify as such and don’t report.

If the county moves ahead, the program will launch in April.

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About Crystal Chavez

Crystal Chavez