It is sad to know that in some parts of Florida, victims of human trafficking are being arrested by law enforcement as a result of lack of programs and trust of some agencies that have popped up with little to no experience with the issue of human trafficking. Some of these programs have nothing put together to assist their clients to become self empowered and self-sufficient and are embellishing information.
The whole purpose for a Human Trafficking task force is to identify agencies that can be trained in human trafficking so they can provide services to victims that have been identified law enforcement. Many of these victims are in need of emergency relocation amongst other services. The responsibility of a task force or coalition is to identify all the services around their area and bring them to the table as a partner to assist victims of human trafficking. They have to be able to identify agencies that will be able to provide shelter, initial assessments, crisis intervention, mental health counseling, health assessments, dental work, continuing education, legal referrals, transportation, food, clothing and safety plan. That task force or coalition must develop a resource directory and a first responder protocol so that all members will know exactly what their role will be once a victim is relocated. If we do not take the time to have all the services in place, the ones that will be suffering the consequences are the victims as it is already happening in Florida. Agencies are assisting in the re-victimization of the victims one more time and proving to them that their trafficker/pimp was right when saying to them that no one will help them.
Another group in Florida has decided to “Baker Act” the victims for 72 hours. This is unacceptable as the first 48 hours a crucial in a victims recovery. So now you are telling a victim that she is crazy for what she was exposed to. Are we insane!
We are here telling the community we will provide victims a safe house and services to ensure their recovery but in reality they are either sent to jail because law enforcement feels they are going to be taken care off and received better services in jail vs an NGO. Or is it better to be placed in a Baker Act for 72 hours so that the victims will be more stable before taken to a shelter that has no programs in place for victims.
What have we done. Do these agencies not know that this is a full violation of the Victim’s Bill of Rights? Don’t they know it is a full violation of the Declaration of Human Rights?
So now it is OK to re-victimized victims. I am so disappointed with the movement in Florida as we have gone backwards and forgot that this is a Victim Centered Law.
We are behaving just as the traffickers/pimps said. We are reinforcing their lies. We have become as bad as they are. We are failing the victims. When are we going to wake up and do what is right.