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A Decade of Vision: Celebrating the Success of the Human Trafficking Education Diversion Program

A Decade in the Making: Celebrating the Success of the Human Trafficking Education Diversion Program

March 27, 2024 | BY TOMAS LARES

Ten years ago, a vision was sparked among key stakeholders in Central Florida. We aspired to create a diversion program tailored for those victimized by human trafficking. This vision became a reality through collaboration, commitment, and perseverance.

 

As the founder of United Abolitionists, I remember the initial meetings with Judge Wilfredo Martinez and the then State Attorney, where we laid the groundwork for what would become a transformative program in Florida’s Ninth Judicial Circuit.

 

Thanks to the State Attorney’s Office, this vision materialized, and the ‘Human Trafficking Education Diversion Program’ was born. Although classes commenced in 2021, it’s only now we’re truly witnessing the growth and impact of this initiative.

 

The ‘Human Trafficking Education Diversion Program’ had its first class this year on March 8, 2024, marked a significant milestone. For the first time, we welcomed both male and female survivors, reflecting our commitment to inclusivity and comprehensive support for all victims of human trafficking.

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The class was graced by distinguished speakers, each an expert in their field. Assistant State Attorney Ryan Whitaker discussed legal aspects, while Maegan Heller-Salickram brought insights from victim services. Danielle Pierson and Angelina Allen shared their perspectives from survivor support organizations. Vocational training insights were offered by Olivia Littleton, and Kathryn Ross provided an overview of community health organizations.

 

I, Tomas J. Lares, had the honor of representing United Abolitionists, highlighting our ongoing commitment to the fight against human trafficking.

 

Our journey has just begun, and with each step, we move closer to a world free of human trafficking.

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July 2024
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