SOUTH FLORIDA – On Monday, January 27th, Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez and State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees highlighted the important role the Florida Department of Health has in identifying and helping victims of human trafficking, many of whom are minors.
Florida will play host to the National Football League’s 54th Super Bowl on February 2nd at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. The event is expected to draw large numbers of ticket holders and interested visitors alike.
“Come Sunday, South Florida will see an influx of visitors as a result of Super Bowl LIV,” said Lieutenant Governor Nuñez. “With such popular large-scale events, our communities are susceptible to the horrible scourge of human trafficking. Our administration is fully committed to combating this pervasive evil by working with the Department of Health and private sector partnerships to train personnel on ways to identify and support potential victims. Together, we all have a role to play to ensure our communities remain safe.”
This year marks the 20-year anniversary of the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, creating the nation’s framework for addressing trafficking and prosecuting perpetrators.
Ahead of Super Bowl LIV 2020 and with January being Human Trafficking Prevention month, Florida partners are accelerating efforts in Miami-Dade to address human trafficking, as such large-scale events often draw illicit activity.
“The Florida Department of Health plays a critical role in our state’s efforts to combat human trafficking,” said State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees. “Together with our state, local, federal and private partners, the Department will strive to ensure that everyone traveling to this event has the resources and information they need to feel safe and lead the healthiest lives possible.”
“Stop Sex Trafficking” Campaign
Festivities begin weeks before kickoff, and Miami agencies and partners, including the Miami-Dade Department of Health, began anti-trafficking public education efforts early in 2019. Led by the Women’s Fund Miami-Dade and the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee, as well as law enforcement and government agencies, a network of over 300 state and local businesses, are participating in the “Stop Sex Trafficking Campaign” which includes visual materials placed in high traffic areas.
Messaging includes the local hotline number “305-FIX-STOP,” the mechanism for reporting suspected trafficking. Calls are handled by local law enforcement and shared with POLARIS, a national organization serving victims and survivors.
While fans should report suspicious activity, airports, hotels and other hospitality industry workers are educated on what to look for to identify potential trafficking.
Gas station clerks, Uber drivers and truck drivers have all been trained on identifying red flags and the steps to act. Uber estimates nearly 100,000 Uber drivers have been trained ahead of the event.
According to the Human Trafficking Hotline, Florida ranks third in the United States among human trafficking cases, and Miami-Dade County ranks first in Florida for the number of human trafficking victims.
For more information on the Stop Sex Trafficking Campaign in Miami and what you can do to take action against trafficking visit The Women’s Fund website HERE or visit the National Human Trafficking Hotline website HERE.
To report trafficking outside of Miami, call the hotline at 1-888-373-7888 (TTY 711), Text 233733. The hotline website also includes a referral directory to assist you in finding your local anti-trafficking coalition.