The Florida Trafficking Initiative is a project of The Center for the Advancement of Human Rights at Florida State University. Funded by the Florida Department of Children and Families, Office of Refugee Services, this project endeavors to bring together representatives from three U.S. Attorney Offices, local and state law enforcement, state attorneys, refuge assistance organizations, non-profit domestic violence, sexual assault advocates and other NGOs to address trafficking in our State. The goal of the project is to assess services and responses to victims of human trafficking in Florida and to make recommendations for improvement. The work of the project will include: identification of victims; protocol development and implementation for service providers, protocol development for the law enforcement community, and specific analyses and recommendations for action to address the horrific reality of trafficking in persons.
Project: The Florida Trafficking Initiative involves collaboration among organizations and individuals from across the State of Florida. Florida's resettlement program is the largest in the nation, resettling 20,000 nearly refugees and entrants annually, more than double that of the next largest state. Since FY1990, Florida is home to nearly 200,000 refugees and immigrants. Through its refugee network, Florida offers a wide variety of programs to help with the resettlement of new arrivals, including employment, vocational education, English language training, crime prevention, health care, citizenship, childcare, and youth, elderly and family services. Since the implementation of new federal law on trafficking, Florida has received certifications of a small number of victims, including victims requiring resettlement, migrant farmworkers held as indentured servants, and victims of sex trafficking. The needs of trafficking victims, primarily women and children, are similar to the needs of refugees and asylum seekers, but include different health and safety issues, more intensive case management assistance, differing placement and housing needs, and coordination of settlement with ongoing criminal prosecutions.
This project will identify and make recommendations to key organizations, individuals, and agencies as to how they can work to better identify and serve victims of trafficking. Anticipated activities include:
Results: Our goal at the conclusion of this one-year project will be to have: 1) developed protocols for identifying and serving victims of trafficking, specifically in social service and law enforcement contexts, and identifying in particular the rights and remedies to be accorded such victims; 2) made recommendations on how to coordinate and leverage resources in the three US Attorney's offices in Florida and among other prosecution and law enforcement agencies in order to promote a coordinated community response; 3) recommended ways to establish effective local, state, national and international relationships and begin to implement such relationships; and 4) worked with grass roots, community-based advocates and others to make policy and program recommendations to service providers for best practices on meeting the needs of victims of human trafficking.
This project will lay an important and across-the-board foundation for a wide range of state agencies, NGOs, law enforcement and others to serve victims of human trafficking. The project will promote understanding of the plight of trafficking victims, will work with Florida governmental and non-governmental groups tasked to deliver services to victims, and will assist service providers in their local communities.
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