Human trafficking course offered for police officers

Program helps officers identify victims

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Nationally, Florida ranks thirds for human trafficking. Now a new program will help officers identify victims. The hope is to stop criminals before they exploit victims.

Florida officials are fighting for freedom.

"The Florida Police Chief's are committed to do what it takes to end human trafficking in our state," said Walter McNeil, of the Quincy Police Department.

In a new training course, officers will be taught how to spot human trafficking victims.

"Thank you for taking this online training to learn more about human trafficking so you can stop this horrific crime from occurring in our state," said Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

In 2011, Florida had more than 3,900 reports of human trafficking. The volume makes Florida the third most trafficked state.

"We're going to continue everything we can as we told you we're partnering up with the business community, attacking with new legislation and on an educational front," said Bondi.

New recruits have been trained to spot trafficking since 2006. Now, every officer will be trained.

"It's important in that they let us know back months ago that what we had in basic training with the way crime was developing in our state wasn't enough," said FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey. "So, this is strictly situational awareness and as I try to stress there the most important part is going to help those front line officers."

The introductory course is up and running now. So is an advanced course for officers.

Yearly, the United Nations estimates 12.3 million people are trafficked for sex worldwide.

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