DCF’s Northwest Region Hosts Human Trafficking Awareness Event

Media Advisory:
January 14, 2013

Nicole Stookey
Northwest Region Communications Director
(850) 509-2675

DCF’s Northwest Region Hosts Human Trafficking Awareness Event
First-of-its-kind training held in conjunction with Human Trafficking Awareness Month

  • WHO: Bay County Commission Chairman George Gainer, executive leadership of the Department of Children and Families, Northwest Florida Human Trafficking Coalition, Anchorage Children’s Home, Life Management Center, Gulf Coast Children’s Advocacy Center, Department of Juvenile Justice, Big Bend Community Based Care, Guardian ad Litem, schools, local law enforcement and other interested parties

  • WHAT: Gov. Rick Scott has signed a proclamation naming January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery through forced labor and sexual exploitation. Florida is ranked as the third highest trafficking destination in the country, and half of all trafficking victims are vulnerable children. Since January 2010, DCF has investigated more than 1,260 cases of alleged human trafficking involving child exploitation. DCF’s Northwest Region has investigated 87 of those cases.

    The Safe Harbor Act, effective January 1, helps ensure the safety of child victims who have been trafficked for sex. The new law allows children who are rescued from prostitution to get help from child welfare professionals instead of being placed in juvenile delinquency.

    On January 17, the Bay County Commission will become the sixth local government in Bay County to join DCF in proclaiming Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Immediately following a proclamation reading by Bay County Commission Chairman George Gainer, DCF will lead a discussion on human trafficking in Florida, including an overview of the Safe Harbor Act and local efforts to raise awareness and ensure the safety and treatment of children rescued from prostitution.

    Attendees will be introduced to an abbreviated version of a new training on Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children that will later be provided to child protective investigators, case managers, caregivers, law enforcement and other service providers.

  • WHEN: Thursday, Jan. 17, 10 a.m. CDT

  • WHERE: Florida Department of Children and Families, 2505 W. 15th St., Panama City