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New Report States Florida's Human Trafficking Assessment Tool May Not Be That Effective

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MGN Online

A new report states a human trafficking tool used among some state agencies may not be that effective.

State agency officials say they’re aware that it’s hard to arrive at reliable data to track Florida’s human trafficking victims. But, Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll says an assessment tool developed by DCF and the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice has helped.

“If you look at the numbers previous to that tool being implemented, I would tell you that the numbers are inconsistent at best,” said Carroll, during a Statewide Council on Human Trafficking meeting months ago.

The goal of the Human Trafficking Assessment tool—which has been in place for more than a year—is to assess factors like how many instances involve running away, sexual abuse history, or prostitution.

But, a recent OPPAGA [Office of Program Policy Analysis and Governmental Accountability] report states there are concerns over the tool’s effectiveness. DCF’s Child Protective Investigators have complained the screening questions are too broad, redundant, and time consuming. In fact, some admitted they don’t even use it for fear of intimidating victims. But, while DJJ staff members have said the tool is lengthy, the report does say they did not have any issues using it.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.