In 2010, Law enforcement was on board to address the issue of the commercial sexual exploitation of children within the Tampa Bay region. However, one issue that they were coming across was that many of the local services providers were not providing services to victims of CSEC. According to FBI, about 20% of the youth recovered were receiving services. FCAHT decided to lend a hand and see why only 20% of the youth recovered were receiving assistance. FCAHT at that point decided to put together a working group that would solely focus on the issue of CSEC. On October 25, 2010 The Tampa Bay Rescue and Restore Coalition was born! The first meeting was held at DCF office. Advocates from DCF, HKI, Redefining Refuge and FCAHT came together to brainstorm on the many ways that we could help make an impact.
Slowly but surely, the word began to spread and now, 46 different agencies, including FBI, and Eckerd Youth have come to the table to continue to improve how the Tampa Bay region address victims of CSEC. Many changes have occurred over the last 5 years including the mission of the Tampa Bay Rescue and Restore. The mission of the TBRRC is to build a safety network of partnerships that will work together to identify, rescue and restore victims of Child Trafficking in the Tampa Bay Area. Our group has expanded to the issue of forced labor of youth as well. Under the TBRRC, we began the Education Subcommittee to address the issue of education. Since the subcommittee started, members of the TBRRC have assisted in training over 1,000 other social service providers within the Tampa Bay region. We have also partnered with the SHOCK Education Youth Diversion program to help educate at risk youth on the issue of human trafficking. And since 2010, we have seen the increase of services for victims of CSEC with now over 50% of youth recovered by law enforcement receiving the assistance that they are entitled to. These past 5 years have been an amazing journey!