Human trafficking has become a major problem in the State of Florida. Statistics from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) hotline show an increasing trend in the number of people being trafficked annually. Since 2007, more than 2.300 cases of human trafficking have been reported in the State of Florida alone. In 2012, the number of reported cases were 237 compared to 364 in 2014 and about 550 cases in 2016. One of the major challenges in accounting for the actual number of human trafficking cases has been the lack of consistent data. In 2016, for instance, the Florida Department of Children and Families reported that more than 1,900 people were trafficked throughout the State. Nevertheless, human trafficking cases in Florida continues to increase annually.
Despite the concerted efforts of the law enforcement officers and governmental and nongovernmental agencies, the problem of human trafficking continues to persist (Candes, 2011). Studies have indicated that there are motivating factors, which explain the phenomenon. There is a high demand for commercial sex workers, escort service providers, and personnel for online advertisements. One of the major venues for the trafficked victims is the hotels, where they are used as sex pets. About 59% of the trafficked girls and women undergo sexual abuse and exploitation in the hospitality industry in Florida (Candes, 2011). Others are forced to become commercial-front brothels. Sex tourism thrives in Florida. It is hub for transient populations from different parts of the world. As a result, it is not possible to detect the issues of trafficking as Florida receives tourists regularly.
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There has also been a high demand for workers in various industries. The domestic work, agriculture and the restaurants and hospitality industries are the top industries that create more demand for smuggled persons. There has been also been incidences of complacency in the fight against human trafficking in Florida. As a thriving business, it is run by powerful and high-status persons.
Human trafficking is a major problem since it is against the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (2000). It violates the rights to dignity and liberty. It portrays the United States in a bad light. As a free country that believes the protection of the fundamental human rights, more efforts are needed to eliminate human trafficking in Florida and other States.
There is a policy challenge that explain why human trafficking continues to threaten the social fabric in Florida. In 2000, the United States Congress passed the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (Berman, 2006). The law seeks to address the challenge of human trafficking by arresting and prosecuting the offenders. However, there is a major limitation in the law that makes it difficult for most victims to report cases of sexual exploitation, forced labor, and other incidences related to human trafficking (Candes, 2011). The law requires that the victims become part of the prosecution during the court hearing (Cordner, 2014). The victims of human trafficking have to become witnesses and demonstrate that their rights were violated. Victims fear for retaliation, which could affect other members of their families. As such, the actual cases of human trafficking in the State of Florida is unknown. Only the reported cases are available, but thousands more could go unreported.
Recently, the Florida Legislature has proposed a number of policies that are aimed at addressing human trafficking menace. The Statewide Council on Human Trafficking was formed and included the prosecutors, healthcare experts, legislators, and social workers (Marcus & Curtis, 2014). Some of the recommendation is to prosecute the perpetrators of human trafficking and make safe homes for the victims. One of the main weakness in the policy it is not proactive. It only seeks to respond to human trafficking issues once they occur. A more deterrent approach is needed to stop the vice. A more proactive approach would be to establish the human trafficking network and work with other States and countries to address the problem from the core.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study is to provide evidence that supports the existence of human trafficking in the State of Florida, highlight the challenges in solving the problem, and offer recommendation to contain the challenge. Some of the recommendations will focus on new policies or amendments to the existing ones to make them more effective in addressing human trafficking.
Plans to Achieve Results
To make the study more successful, the goal will be to rely on both the primary and secondary sources of information. The study will establish the history of human trafficking in State of Florida, the motivating factors, and what the government and other agencies are doing to address the problem. Additionally, the study will seek to identify the main obstacles that make it difficult for the government to address the problem of human trafficking. The researcher will recommend the best policies that have already worked in other countries or states with a similar challenge as Florida. At all times, the researcher will maintain professionalism in research, including adhering to the ethics of a scientific study. The goal is to make the study objective, which will help in developing effective policies and recommendations to solve the challenge of human trafficking.
Berman, J. (2006). "The Left, the Right and Prostitute: The Making of U.S. Anti-trafficking in Persons Policy". Tulane Journal of International and Comparative Law. 14: 269–293.
Cordner, S. (2014). " What Might Future Florida Human Trafficking Legislation Look Like For 2015?" . Florida State University. WFSU.
Coonan, S. (2003). "Human Rights in the Sunshine State: A Proposed Florida Law on Human Trafficking". Fla. St. U. L. Rev. 31 (2). Retrieved April 19, 2017
Candes, M. (2011). "The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000: Will it Become the Thirteenth Amendment of the Twenty-First Century?". The University of Miami Inter-American Law Review. 23 (3): 571–603.
Marcus, A. & Curtis, R. (2014). Implementing Policy for Invisible Populations: Social Work and Social Policy in a Federal Anti-Trafficking Taskforce in the United States. Social Policy and Society