While the state has made new strides in efforts to combat human trafficking, a statewide panel convened by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says there are still areas that need some work.
At Thursday’s meeting of the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking in Tampa, Bondi updated the panel about some troubling statistics.
“30 percent of trafficking cases in both Tampa and Miami involved girls with intellectual disabilities,” said Bondi. “While the average age of the victim was 14, the cognitive age equivalent was eight to ten-years-old. These victims primarily describe their traffickers as boyfriends because they don’t know any better.”
More drug traffickers are now switching to human trafficking, and Fort Myers continues to be a hot spot for human trafficking. Other problem areas include the Florida panhandle, where a lot of labor trafficking there is linked to the hotel industry. The 15-member panel also heard good news. For example, Orlando had successfully prosecuted the first case using Florida’s human trafficking statute.
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