human trafficking

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

Miami-Dade County Public Schools is using a sexual abuse prevention curriculum developed by a Broward senator’s foundation to meet a new state mandate for teaching about human trafficking.

Department of Health Addresses Human Trafficking

Jan 27, 2020
Maria Esquinca / WLRN

State officials adressed  how the Department of Health is responding to human trafficking in light of the Super Bowl at a press conference at the Department's offices in Miami on Monday. 


Human trafficking encompasses forced sex and forced labor. Florida ranks No. 3 in the country for the total number of human trafficking cases reported, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. 


Miami-Dade County has the highest number of victims in the state.



Arizona businesswoman and philanthropist Cindy McCain used an appearance at Florida International University to draw attention to human trafficking in South Florida ahead of the upcoming Superbowl.

Speaking at the University's State of the World conference, McCain, who chairs the Human Trafficking Advisory Council at the McCain Institute, recalled a human trafficking awareness campaign she helped lead when Arizona hosted the big game in 2015.

“Our hotel industry was involved in it our tourism was involved in it, it was a statewide effort.” she said.

human trafficking
Jose A. Iglesias / Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald

Hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to come to Miami-Dade County in February for the 2020 Super Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Federal officials, nonprofits and law enforcement prepare for an expected increase in human trafficking during these large-scale events.

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

South Florida commuters will see more human trafficking awareness signs on their commute leading up to the 2020 Super Bowl. 

AP via Miami Herald

Florida leaders at the state and federal level are hoping to prevent human trafficking through education.

Proposals now in front of the state Board of Education and Congress would make sure kids learn about human trafficking in schools.

During a meeting Friday morning in Jacksonville, the board is slated to consider a new regulation that would mandate that trafficking awareness and prevention are taught in public school health classes.

Graphic by Aaron Sánchez Guerra

Thousands of college-age students come to Florida every year as part of a federal cultural exchange program that has been accused of fostering abuse and exploitation, including cases of human trafficking, according to a national report released this summer.

Miami Herald via AP

Some Florida lawmakers are responding to the passage of Alabama’s new abortion law, which would ban  abortion in almost any circumstance and make providing the procedure a felony. State Senator Lauren Book, D-Plantation, released a statement yesterday in opposition to the law.

Lawmakers Step Up Fight Against Human Trafficking

May 6, 2019

Florida lawmakers late Friday passed legislation that would require police, hotel employees and massage-parlor workers to get training in how to recognize signs of human trafficking. 

Lawmakers Renew Push To Curb Human Trafficking

Apr 1, 2019

A year ago, state Sen. Lauren Book wanted to allow human-trafficking survivors to sue hotels that turned a blind eye to abuse. But after that idea did not pass, the Plantation Democrat is back with a different proposal: training hotel employees to spot trafficking.

Leslie Ovalle / WLRN

Halfway into his 1,000-mile walk, Roger DeHart was stopped by a man in Holly Hill, S.C. It was a white man with Confederate flag, which made DeHart, a black man, uneasy.

"I thought 'oh boy,'" said DeHart, who was completing his walk from Fort Lauderdale to Washington D.C  during the Spring of 2018 to raise awareness about human trafficking.

The man got off his truck and met DeHart with tears in his eyes and two cold Gatorades in his hands. 

"I have two daughters, I've been following your story and I appreciate you so much," the man said.

Miami-Dade County is getting ready to host next year’s Super Bowl. And with the Super Bowl and other huge sports events, come concerns about an uptick in human trafficking -- which is already a problem for Florida.

January is designated as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. A recent case of trafficking in Leon County is prompting organizations to bring awareness to the issue.

Human trafficking has taken on "horrific" dimensions, according to the 2018 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons released this month by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The woman arrived at the emergency department at Huntington Hospital on New York's Long Island after she was hit by her boyfriend during an argument. Her situation raised concerns among the medical staff, which had recently been trained to be on the lookout for signs of sex trafficking.