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Ramsey Sullivan
ECB Publishing, Inc.

There are an estimated 20 million to 40 million people in modern day slavery today, with about three million in the United States alone. Modern slavery, also known as human trafficking or sex trafficking, involves the transportation of someone into a situation of exploitation, including forced labor, marriage, prostitution and organ removal.

Victims of trafficking can be of any age, race, gender or nationality. However, children are at a higher risk of being trafficked than adults. Child sex trafficking has been described as “the largest slave trade in history.” In the United States, as many as 300,000 school-age children are at risk for sexual exploitation; one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18. Studies have shown that the average age a child is trafficked into the commercial sex trade is between 11 and 14 years old.

Recently the hashtags “#SaveOurChildren” and “#SaveTheChildren” have been making their way around social media. The sharing of this hashtag began on Friday, July 30, which was World Day Against Trafficking. Since the original sharing of the hashtag, it has been hijacked by conspiracy theorists sharing their ideas about sex trafficking.

Despite the theories and rumors swirling, the message that is being expressed is clear: save children from child sex trafficking. Florida currently has the third most human trafficking cases reported by state, behind only Texas and California. Due to Florida’s booming agriculture and tourism industries, human trafficking is able to flourish here in the Sunshine State.

While most human trafficking cases go unreported, due to the fact that human trafficking usually involves runaways, reporting these cases can be key to shutting down trafficking businesses. In 2019, there were 767 reports of human trafficking in Florida. Those 767 reports led to the identification of 1,771 victims, 506 traffickers and 306 trafficking businesses.

To aid in the decline of human trafficking and keep yourself and loves ones safe, there are some steps you can follow, according to humantraffickinghotline.org.

• Trust your judgement. If a person or situation makes you uncomfortable, trust that feeling.
• Let a trusted friend or relative know if you feel like you are in danger.
• If possible, set up a safety word with a friend or relative.
• Keep all important documents and identification in your possession at all times.
• Keep important phone numbers on you at all times.
• Make sure you have a means of communicating at all times.
• If you feel like you are in immediate danger, call 911.

If you believe you have any information about a trafficking situation:
• Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free hotline at 1 (888) 373-7888.
• Text the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 233733.

To report a missing child or child pornography, call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1 (800) THE-LOST.

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