Services include counseling, transportation, case management and assistance locating employment. Has court advocates and also contracts with attorneys. Provides vouchers for clothing and furniture at two thrift stores. Shelter can take boys up to 17 accompanied by their mothers. Cases must be reported to law enforcement to be eligible to receive these services.
Client needs are evaluated on a case-by-case basis to provide housing and case management. Usually case management involves seeking services and providing referrals to different agencies. Also has a thrift store that provides vouchers to clients.
Jacksonville Area Legal Aid W. Also facilitates transportation through a volunteer program for their appointments. Rethreaded Barnett St. Trinity Rescue Mission W. Provides meals and clothing. Has one facility for women and children limited space for boys and another facility for men and boys older than age Open to both domestic and international trafficking victims. Provides counseling for three years parental consent is needed for minors. Assists both males and females, but the majority of the clients are female.
World Relief Jacksonville University Blvd. Covers basic needs such as housing, food, medical care, transportation and clothing. Also assists victims in applying for public benefits. Florida Department of Health Ron Word Interstate 95 has become a human pipeline, transporting young girls working as sex slaves and agricultural workers forced into involuntary servitude.
Human trafficking is growing in Northeast Florida and across the Sunshine State, according to police, legal and state officials. Victims of human trafficking are subjected to force, fraud of coercion for the purposed of commercial sex, debt bondage or forced labor. They are young children, teenagers, men and women. Trafficking in persons occurs throughout the world, including in the United States," according to the U.
Department of Health and Human Services. Scott Dingee, head of the department's integrity unit and special investigations units. Most of the cases investigated are sex crimes, although there have been a few cases involving forced labor at area farms and in Chinese restaurants. Dingee noted that his department, with the help of local and federal prosecutors, aggressively targets and prosecutes traffickers, sending some to prison for life.
In , Ian Scott Gordon was charged with holding a year-old girl at hotels along Philips Highway and Arlington Expressway, giving her crack cocaine in exchange for sex. Then he sold her as a prostitute. It was violent, brutal, cruel and unusual," Assistant U.
Gordon is serving a life sentence in federal prison. Prosecutors estimate she was assaulted by 50 men over a period of just a few weeks. Federal prosecutors said the girl was held naked so that she was less inclined to escape. She eventually escaped and called her mother. Dingee notes the Internet makes it easy for customers to find women and teenage girls for sex.
When Jacksonville police want to make a sting of prostitutes and traffickers, they simply go to well-known sex websites and make a date. Often, young girls are offered. The victims may be sexually molested at home and are already sexualized," Dingee said. So far this year, Dingee and other officers in his unit have investigated 15 trafficking cases, involving up to 60 victims, including seven juveniles. Nine of those cases are in various stages in the federal court system, either pending indictment or trial.
One man, Ruell Alexander Brown, pleaded guilty in federal court and was sentenced in April to more than 15 years in prison for human trafficking. Brown told an investigator he placed a tattoo on one woman that read, "Property of King David. During high-dollar events in Jacksonville, like the Super Bowl or the Tournament Players Championship, prostitutes "can make hundreds of dollars a day. They tend to charge more for young girls. Young girls make more money," Dingee said.
Drugs and trafficking are often linked, Dingee said, as many smart traffickers realize they can sell a pound of cocaine only once but can sell the services of a prostitute over and over again. The problem has reached epidemic proportions in most major Florida cities, Dingee said.
We take a proactive approach," he said. We tend to do a better job of making cases. Since then, the clinic has worked on 11 human trafficking cases and has recently taken on four new cases.
A lot of them we don't find out," she said about the secretive dealings of sex traffickers. Curran's first case in Jacksonville involved a year-old girl from Central America brought to the United States to work as a domestic worker, but learned she was sold as sex worker. Curran and the students in her clinic help get immigrants permanent resident status.
Curran said many of her students speak Spanish, which is a plus when dealing with victims who don't speak English. Victims are so scared. Traffickers are smart, they move them around, so they have no connections," she said. The victims often don't even know where they are and are kept in bondage by fear, coercion, drugs, sex abuse and beatings. Immigrants fear they can be deported or their families could be harmed if they seek help or go to the police.
In Jacksonville, police arrested 21 people, including two pimps; a warrant was issued for a third. Two of the women arrested had just turned 18 and had no record, Dingee said. They were caught by undercover officers who were planted in hotel rooms and made "dates" for sex with young women through the Internet.
Other officers were placed undercover in hotel and motel parking lots, looking for girls sent out on the streets to solicit for sex. Teens arrested are covered under the Florida Safe Harbor Act and not typically charged. Teenagers are returned home, if possible, or placed into the foster care system.
The act mandates that teens victimized by trafficking be placed in specialized homes, but there is no money to build them, Dingee said. In many cases, the prostitutes are loyal to their pimps, despite the fact they are treated so poorly.
And many former prostitutes continue to live in fear after they have been freed by police. Rick Scott kicked off the meeting, the second statewide summit on human trafficking, noting that human trafficking affects more than 27 million people worldwide, including an estimated two million children. In , Florida ranked third in the number of calls received by the National Human Trafficking Resources Center's hotline.
The task force has periodic sessions to keep schools, civic clubs and others aware of Jacksonville's human trafficking problem.