The detailed report utilized court documents from across the country to provide a good look at human trafficking in the justice system. While many survivors are identified and receive services, very few are willing to testify in court due to fear of retaliation. Without testimony from survivors, it is not uncommon for human trafficking charges to be dropped.

In 2017, Florida had 59 active federal court cases for human trafficking. This number may not seem like a lot but each case usually hinges on survivors’ testimonies, something that is quite rare due to the extreme trauma and manipulation usually involved in human trafficking. According to court documents, 87 defendants were listed in these cases. Each defendant should be applauded for their courage to take the stand, look their trafficker in the eye, and recount the horror they endured. In 2018, federal courts convicted 19 defendants in criminal human trafficking cases, ranking Florida 4th in the nation for the number of defendants convicted.

While it is saddening that the beautiful state of Florida has so many cases of human trafficking, it is encouraging to know that our law enforcement officers are actively investigating the crime and our legal system is actively prosecuting traffickers. As first-responders in cases of human trafficking, we are extremely grateful for the risk law enforcement officers take to recover victims and everyone who is involved in seeing justice done on their behalf. We moved from the number 3 spot in 2017 to the number 4 spot in 2018. Let’s keep fighting this crime year after year. You can view the full Florida report here. 2018 Human Trafficking Report Florida.