Advocates bring awareness to human trafficking in Panama City

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - January is human trafficking awareness month, and advocates are out in full force, making sure everyone knows it's happening in our own neighborhood.

Advocates demonstrate for Human Trafficking Awareness Day in Panama City. (WJHG/WECP)

"We have to face the truth, it's happening right here in Bay County," said Cherie Crim, Human Trafficking Task Force, Circuit 14.

Crim says this is an important issue because Florida ranks third in the country for human trafficking cases.

"We are opening up and seeing what's going on, we know with Jeffrey Epstein, we know with Robert Kraft, some of the things that have been going on, right here in our country, this is important and we have to stop this," said Crim.

Open Doors Outreach Network's Stephanie Gravely says it's important to keep an eye out for anything that seems out of the ordinary, but the signs of human trafficking can sometimes be difficult to see.

"Trafficking doesn't affect one type of individual, it can affect males, females, it doesn't matter (your) sexual orientation," said Gravely.

The task force puts together training sessions for hospitality workers to recognize the possible signs.

For more information, go to the Human Trafficking Task Force - District 14 Facebook page.

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