January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

January 16, 2018  
Sheriff Mike Williams addresses the audience at Tuesday's news conference.

Community Education is Key

JACKSONVILLE, FL (January 16, 2018) - On Tuesday, January 16, 2018, Sheriff Mike Williams was joined by members of the Northeast Florida Human Trafficking Coalition and state and local criminal justice officials to reaffirm their commitment to raising awareness about the issue of slavery and human trafficking locally and throughout the country.

Locally, in 2017, 66 victims were identified and/or rescued, six of those were juveniles. This resulted in 54 Human Trafficking related arrests with eight federal indictments.

The importance of community education and their participation in reporting was highlighted during Sheriff Williams’ speech as he spoke about the efforts driven by JSO’s Integrity and Special Investigation Unit to provide training to area hotel and healthcare executives, Community Planning Councils in Jacksonville and Sheriff’s Watch meetings, among others.

The Sheriff also spoke about three successful cases that concluded in 2017 and stated, “These cases highlight what can be accomplished with effective investigations and prosecution, but as with all crime, our continued education of the public and emphasizing the need for law abiding citizens to call us with their tips and suspicions is the key.”

Individuals who are a victim of this crime or individuals that suspect that someone is a victim, being exploited or abused by another person are asked to call JSO at (904) 630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org.

The Coalition also extended an invite for members of the community to attend a panel discussion and Q&A with local experts on topics of “prevention, awareness and support for victims and their families”. The annual gathering is scheduled to take place Thursday, January 18 at 5:30 p.m. at Florida State College at Jacksonville – South Campus, 11901 Beach Boulevard, Jacksonville, FL 32246. For more information please visit: http://www.facebook.com/NEFHTC.