Fighting for Florida

Today is the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery which marks the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption of the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others on December 2, 1949.

In 1949, the UN acknowledged the prevalence of modern day slavery across the globe. The United States is a leader in the efforts to combat human trafficking. The U.S. State Department estimates worldwide 800,000 people are trafficked each year, with about 17,000 of those being trafficked in the United States. Sadly, my home state of Florida has a large prevalence of both labor trafficking and sex trafficking. This is why I am a co-sponsor of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2011 (S.1301) which is currently under consideration in the U.S. Senate. This bipartisan bill seeks to engage existing trafficking laws and programs to address changing needs in the fight against human trafficking.

Today, I visited the Kristi House in Miami, Florida with my wife Jeanette. Kristi House began working with commercial sexually exploited children in 2007. They have a special unit, Project Gold, that works directly with minor victims of commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking to provide the flexibility, creativity, and dedication necessary to successfully engage this special population for services, encourage their healing, and pave the way for their future success. Human trafficking is a crime that is often under-reported and overlooked by the public. On the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, we all need to open our eyes to the world around us and find a way that we can help stop it.