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January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month

Phebe Powell, the Executive Director of Brevard C.A.R.E.S. shares below about the importance of raising awareness for human trafficking.

Human Trafficking happens in almost every country around the world, and is increasingly common across the United States. The National Human Trafficking Hotline ranks Florida third in the nation for the crime. Traffickers are not only men; women are also perpetrators. Increasingly, traffickers are using fear tactics to lure children and youth into commercial sex acts and/or compelled labor.

Young people, especially those with risk factors, are vulnerable to human trafficking. The Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued new guidance on child trafficking to child welfare systems and runaway and homeless youth programs because of increased vulnerability to trafficking for youth who have experienced prior abuse or who have run away from home.

In 2016, Florida received a 54% increase from 2015 in the number of human trafficking cases involving children. The I-95 Corridor serves as a major artery for human trafficking to and from south and central Florida placing the children of Brevard along the path of trafficking predators. To better serve this growing service population, Brevard C.A.R.E.S. is an active member of the Space Coast Human Trafficking Task Force and has identified Care Coordinators in each unit with specialized human trafficking training. These Care Coordinators are required to complete quarterly Human Trafficking specific training annually.

We encourage our families to be aware of the warning signs that your child be a victim.

Warning signs may include:
  • Unexplained bruises, black eyes, cuts, or marks
  • Exhibit behaviors including fear, anxiety, depression, submission, tension, and/or nervousness
  • Exhibit “hyper-vigilance” or paranoid behavior.
  • Interest in, or are in relationships with, adults or older men
  • Controlling or dominating relationships including: repeated phone calls from a “boyfriend” and/or excessive concern about displeasing partner
  • Unexplained shopping trips or possession of expensive clothing, jewelry, or a cell phone could indicate the manipulation of an exploiter
  • Use of lingo or slang from “the life” among peers, or referring to a boyfriend as “Daddy”
  • Secrecy about whereabouts, unaccounted for time, vagueness concerning whereabouts
  • Keeping late-night night or unusual hours
  • A tattoo that he or she is reluctant to explain
To learn more about what is happening here in Brevard to combat human trafficking I would invite you to visit Space Coast Human Trafficking Task Force website
Or visit:  to learn how human trafficking is affecting our younger generation.