Jacksonville sheriff, community groups fight human trafficking

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Members of law enforcement and some local non-profit agencies came together Thursday morning in an effort aimed at ending what's been called modern-day slavery by launching Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford said many of the girls and women who become victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation were lured by false promises. Members of the Northeast Florida Human Trafficking Coalition hope this will raise awareness of the crime.

He says many of the girls and women who become victims of trafficking, and sexual exploitation, were lured by false promises.

"You have these young people out there who are searching for a better life, they are looking for something they don't have," Rutherford said. "That's how these guys get their hooks into them. They get them away from there support, away from their family member, away from their friends, away from their city and then sexually exploit them."

The sheriff says 80 percent of human trafficking victims in Florida are women and children and that the state is one of the top destinations for human trafficking in the United States.

Rutherford said anyone who suspects someone has been victimized by human trafficking should call police.

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