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January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month

By Maggie Hall, PIO - Contact Number: 727-824-6908

December 23, 2016

You can call it modern slavery, forced labor or exploitation, but the catch-all term “human trafficking” covers the abuse of men, women and children for commercial sex or forced labor enforced through violence or fraud. January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month and the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County (DOH-Pinellas) is urging the community to learn more about this issue.

According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, there were 410 cases of human trafficking statewide in 2016, with more than 1,200 calls reported. In the majority of cases, trafficking involved the sex trade. Between 100,000 and 300,000 of sexual exploitation victims nationwide are estimated to be younger than 18.

The Florida Department of Children and Families provides many educational resources here:

Victims and those who suspect an individual is the victim of human trafficking can call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, (888) 373-7888. Victims can also text INFO or HELP to 233-733 for services.

For information on spotting the signs of human trafficking, go to

For information about DOH-Pinellas, go to or follow us on Twitter @HealthyPinellas.

About the Florida Department of Health

The department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit