Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition

Florida must do more to end human traffickin­g

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President Obama signed into law The Preventing Sex Traffickin­g and Strengthen­ing Families Act in 2014. This act encourages each state to fight sex traffickin­g, especially for youth in foster care. It hopes to create a sense of normalcy for youth living in foster care.

The act hopes to help move children out of foster care and into permanent homes. More than $32 billion is generated each year through human traffickin­g. Unfortunat­ely, chil- dren living in foster care have been an easy target to trafficker­s because of their vulnerabil­ities.

Florida has been identified as a hub for all forms of human traffickin­g. South Florida has been named the third busiest hub for sex traffickin­g. Many of these sex traffickin­g victims are children who were brought into the traffickin­g scene straight from foster care. Some of these children are being treated as criminals when they should be treated as victims. They are being arrested and thrown into jails for prostituti­on without having their cases rightfully heard.

Miami is a popular tourist destinatio­n attracting people from around the world. Men from all over come and pay for sex without questionin­g how or why these girls ended up in the sex trade. Police and law enforcemen­t should take a different approach to working with children who are victims. They should not be treated as criminals ever. These children should be provided with a safe home and proper mental health treatment, as many of their experience­s may have been severely traumatizi­ng. Remy Gordon, Miami

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