March held to put a spotlight on human trafficking in Florida

TALLAHASEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - As of 2017, Florida ranks third in the nation for the number of reported human trafficking cases.

On Tuesday a march and rally led by the Department of Children and Families and the anti-human trafficking group One More Child sought to raise awareness for the issue and advocate for policy reforms.

One More Child President Jerry Haag says while some high profile cases like the recent bust in Palm Beach catch media headlines, the addressing the problem requires long term solutions.

"We've seen highlights come about from trafficking that's taken place in the state of Florida from these really high visibility busts, but the reality is these were taking place well before those busts ever happened. And so what we have to do is we have to be vigilant,” said Haag. "To be able to come together and say we're going to make sure that laws are in place to be able to protect victims and also stiffen penalties for perpetrators.”

Several bills have been filed focusing on human trafficking this legislative session, including one that would require training for law enforcement and hospitality staff to help those on the frontlines identify and report suspected trafficking.