January is Human Trafficking Prevention Month
The Haggard Law Firm recognizes National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month throughout January. The Department of Defense defines Human Trafficking as” a crime in which force, fraud or coercion is used to compel a person to perform labor, services or commercial sex. It affects all populations: adults, children, men, women, foreign nationals and U.S. citizens, and all economic classes.”
Studies show that a large percentage of locations where sex trafficking takes place are commercial businesses like hotels, truck stops and massage parlors.. One survey found hotels and motels are the single-most common venue for sex trafficking in Florida during the first half of 2017. Experts say it is because the traffickers want to remain transient to avoid suspicion and arrest.”
“Hotels and motel operators can no longer stick their head in the sand on this issue” says Michael Haggard, The Haggard Law Firm’s Managing Partner. He says the general public is more aware than ever that this crime is taking place. He adds, “a good place for commercial businesses to start in helping combat these trafficking tragedies is to include as part of their new employee and ongoing training seminars the warning signs that trafficking is taking place.”
Haggard knows better than most what it takes to seek justice from a hotel, motel or other commercials business. The Haggard Law Firm has successfully litigated several hundreds of cases over the years representing those injured or killed due to the negligence of a commercial business owner. Many of those cases have involved hotels and crime victims. Those enslaved by traffickers are ultimately, victims of crime.
Statistics and Signs of Human Trafficking
According to the Polaris Project, a nonprofit that tracks calls to the national human trafficking hotline, there were 329 reported cases of human trafficking in Florida through June — which included 215 sex-trafficking and 79 labor-trafficking cases.
Florida’s 2017 numbers are on pace to surpass the hotel-related cases reported to the hotline in 2016.
Some warning signs of human trafficking in hotels/motels:
— Pays for room in cash or with prepaid card
— Signs of poor hygiene, malnourishment or fatigue
— Evidence of verbal threats or physical violence
— Exhibits fearful, nervous, anxious or submissive demeanor
— Excessive foot traffic in and out of rooms
— Significantly older boyfriend or with older men at the hotel
— No freedom of movement, constantly monitored
— Hourly stay or extended stay with few possessions
If you see signs of human trafficking call the National Human Trafficking Hotline, 888-373-7888
National Human Trafficking