ICYMI| Human trafficking is an ongoing problem in the state of Florida. This heinous crime, which is the act of forcing or coercing men, women and/or children into labor that results in involuntary servitude, exploitation, debt bondage or slavery, is a felony and needs to be stopped.
During the month of June, the Broward Sheriff’s Office’s Strategic Investigations Division (SID) took part in the Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) Task Force Operation Breaking Chains. The strategic initiative focused on reducing human trafficking throughout the state and prosecuting those responsible for trafficking individuals. The month-long operation consisted of participation from 16 sheriff’s offices across 16 Florida counties. Collectively, the agencies recovered 29 human trafficking victims, identified 31 human traffickers and made 363 arrests.
Today, the Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) Task Force released the results of Operation Breaking Chains, a strategic initiative in 16 Florida counties that focused on reducing human trafficking throughout the state and prosecuting those responsible for trafficking individuals.
“Amplifying the safety on our roads and waterways is crucial for all Floridians, including our children, and those who visit the Sunshine State,” said FSA President and Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz. “The dedicated enforcement of state laws that deal with businesses suspected of human trafficking and online operations will help to keep us all safe.”
The following are the statewide totals:
16 total Sheriff’s Offices participated in the month-long operation.
29 victims recovered
31 traffickers identified
4 traffickers arrested
324 interdiction stops made both highway and waterway
4 victims rescued for interdiction stops
Over 1,000 hours doing knock and talks at multiple business locations
363 total arrests
7,591 social media and sign messages distributed
33 non-government community-based organizations assisted during the operation
“I want to thank FSA President Sheriff Schultz for his leadership of the FSA and this operation as well as the 16 counties that participated in this important operation,” said Pasco County Sheriff and chair of the FSA Task Force Chris Nocco. “The goal, as always, is to protect victims. I credit the unique approach this operation took to its success. We not only focused on arrests but surrounded victims with resources that will be impactful in the future and allow us to break the cycle of human trafficking while also holding those responsible.”
Operation Breaking Chains contributes to two of the FSA business operations goals: to foster effective law enforcement and crime prevention and to promote the activities of Sheriffs.
There is nothing human about human trafficking, which is why BSO is proud to have been a part of FSA’s Task Force Operation Breaking Chains. Despite the operation’s conclusion, BSO will continue its previously ongoing effort to help eradicate human trafficking in Broward.
If you suspect human trafficking in your community, BSO encourages you to contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888, text “HELP” or “INFO” to 233733 or call the BSO non-emergency number at 954-764-4357 (HELP).
To learn more about what human trafficking is, please visit the National Human Trafficking Hotline page at humantraffickinghotline.org.