Human trafficking is an ongoing problem in the state of Florida. This heinous crime, which is the act of forcing or coercing men, women and/or children into labor that results in involuntary servitude, exploitation, debt bondage or slavery, is a felony and needs to be stopped.
During the month of June, the Broward Sheriff’s Office’s Strategic Investigations Division (SID) took part in the Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) Task Force Operation Breaking Chains. The strategic initiative focused on reducing human trafficking throughout the state and prosecuting those responsible for trafficking individuals. The month-long operation consisted of participation from 16 sheriff’s offices across 16 Florida counties. Collectively, the agencies recovered 29 human trafficking victims, identified 31 human traffickers and made 363 arrests.
In Broward County, BSO’s SID efforts led to the recovery of a human trafficking victim, the identification of a human trafficking suspect and the arrest of 18 individuals. During the operation, BSO deputies also visited dozens of businesses, made 37 traffic and waterways stops, issued approximately 24 warnings/citations and distributed over 200 human trafficking resource posters and pamphlets.
Through close coordination with the Department of Health, BSO’s SID unit, with assistance from various BSO Crime Suppression Team units, conducted inspections at businesses where human trafficking has been known to occur, which led to many of the arrests.
Highway, marine and harbor patrol units also assisted with checking county waterways and highways for victims of human trafficking.
There is nothing human about human trafficking, which is why BSO is proud to have been a part of FSA’s Task Force Operation Breaking Chains. Despite the operation’s conclusion, BSO will continue its previously ongoing effort to help eradicate human trafficking in Broward.
If you suspect human trafficking in your community, BSO encourages you to contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888, text "HELP" or "INFO" to 233733 or call the BSO non-emergency number at 954-764-4357 (HELP).
To learn more about what human trafficking is, please visit the National Human Trafficking Hotline page at humantraffickinghotline.org
THIS REPORT BY:
Gerdy St. Louis/PIO