The South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force (SFHTTF) was established in 2018, by the IRC in Miami with support from the Department of Justice and in collaboration with service providers, law enforcement agencies and individuals from the community. The purpose of the SFHTTF is to identify and protect survivors of human trafficking, prosecute traffickers and educate communities across South Florida about the impacts human trafficking has on the community.
The IRC in Miami is one of 400 members that actively participate in the SFHTTF’s activities. Members of the task force come together to discuss a wide range of issues, focusing on addressing human trafficking through community outreach to identify survivors, provide direct assistance to survivors, coordinate with law-enforcement to successfully prosecute perpetrators and expand community resources.
The SFHTTF also provides educational information to the public to help them identify signs of human trafficking. It publishes information on its website and shares it through its “Task Force Talks” podcast series in which experts and service providers discuss the evolution and response to human trafficking in South Florida. To listen to the “Task Force Talks” series please follow the link.
Identifying potential indicators of human trafficking is a critical step towards identifying survivors of human trafficking. Common indicators attempt to discern:
- Is the person in possession of her/his documents?
- Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations or houses of worship?
- Has a child stopped attending school?
- Has the person suddenly or dramatically changed his/her behavior?
- Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?
- Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
- Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
- Is the person fearful, timid or submissive?
- Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep or medical care?
To view the full list of signs of human trafficking, please follow the link.
The IRC in Miami is one of the only providers in South Florida that offers client-centered, culturally-informed holistic case management services to survivors of human trafficking. Since 2003, the IRC in Miami has provided services to over 550 survivors. The IRC focuses on supporting survivors as they heal, rebuild their lives and achieve self-sufficiency. This expertise contributed to the IRC’s leadership in the development of the SFHTTF. At its formation, the SFHTTF was led by Caridad Mas-Batchelor, who served as the SFHTTF’s Task Force Coordinator and most recently the IRC in Miami’s Interim Deputy Director. Caridad's contributions to the anti-trafficking movement in South Florida has been fundamental to cross-sectional collaboration between law-enforcement agencies and direct service providers. In August, Caridad transitioned from the IRC but continues to lead the SFHTTF under the Miami Police Department. The IRC is grateful for Caridad’s contributions and legacy and is excited to continue its partnership with the SFHTTF and its members.
Caridad Mas-Batchelor brings thought leaders and experts together during World Day Against Trafficking in Persons
To report suspected human trafficking or to obtain resources for victims, please call 1-888-373-7888; text “BeFree” (233733); or live chat at HumanTraffickingHotline.org. The toll-free phone, SMS text lines, and online chat function are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Help is available in English, Spanish, Creole, or in more than 200 additional languages. The National Hotline is not managed by law enforcement, immigration or an investigative agency. Correspondence with the National Hotline is confidential and you may request assistance or report a tip anonymously.
To learn more about the work of the IRC in Florida and for information on how you can get involved with the IRC as a donor or volunteer, please contact Development Manager, JC Torres, at Juan.Torres [at] Rescue.org or 786-325-6257.
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