BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. (January 23, 2018) – The Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation transferred today an innovative human trafficking data program to the State Attorney’s Office. The program was developed by the Women’s Foundation in cooperation with the Southwest Florida Human Task Force under the leadership of the 20th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office.
Amira Fox, Chief Assistant State Attorney, said,
“We are grateful to the Women’s Foundation for pioneering the development of this essential data tool for our Human Trafficking Task Force members. Our goal is to implement the data program immediately throughout the 20th Circuit and make it available to all other Florida Circuits as soon as possible.”
The transfer of the human trafficking data program to the State Attorney’s Office is a major milestone in the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation’s commitment to combat human trafficking. The program which uses the applicable types and definitions of human trafficking compiled in the Polaris Project’s Typology of Modern Slavery. The Polaris Project is one of the largest anti-trafficking organizations in the U.S.
“We learned several years ago that the lack of accurate data and privacy issues represented major obstacles for law enforcement, victim service and legal professionals in quantifying the problem and securing adequate resources to combat human trafficking,” noted Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation Founder and CEO Brenda Tate.
“At the request of the U.S. Attorney serving this region at the time, the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation responded to the challenge and began exploring options for obtaining and developing accurate and useful data,” Tate emphasized.
The database gathers information about gender, age range, type of trafficking, and risk factors. This information will be centralized, analyzed, and reported out by the 20th Circuit State Attorney’s Office. The resulting data will not only deepen our understanding of human trafficking that happens in our own backyard but will also reflect trends over time and validate the specific resources needed to bolster the professional efforts of local and statewide agencies.Task Force members will be able to share non-identifying information on the victims served by their respective agencies without violating privacy laws or risking the safety of their clients. The types of human trafficking happening in Southwest Florida include, but are not limited to, sex trafficking of children on websites and labor trafficking of farmworkers.