Volunteers Spread Word About Trafficking In Traffic
At nine different locations across Tallahassee Thursday, volunteers worked to raise awareness for human trafficking. And sometimes that means getting into traffic.
Cars are rumbling through the intersection of Apalachee Parkway and Monroe St., while volunteers from the Salvation Army walk up and down the Parkway median. At each red light, they approach cars and pass literature on human trafficking to the drivers.
Pamela Marsh, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Florida, says the campaign is part of an annual push to raise awareness, and through her five years in the post she’s seen results.
“I think we’re doing a good job of getting the word out, and we’re starting to see—as the federal prosecutor—we’re starting to see cases being made, and that these horrible criminals that really are enslaving young women, and young men and farmworkers, seeing them getting very long sentences and going to jail,” Marsh says.
But even though her office is making progress, Marsh says she needs continued support from the community.
“We are seeing an increase in the prosecution, but I think that’s only because we’re starting to scratch the surface,” Marsh says, “and that’s what this is all about—increasing awareness, getting more people to know what it looks like so that they can come forward, tell law enforcement, and we can get after it.
Julie Smith, from the Salvation Army says the face-to-face interaction they get at intersections is particularly effective. Volunteers visited four other cross-streets in Tallahassee as well as locations on the Florida State and FAMU campuses with the goal of reaching 3,000 people in three hours.