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  Human Trafficking Unit

  • Established: In 2012
  • Who we are:  An innovative trauma-informed law enforcement model for the investigation and prosecution of Human Trafficking. This unit encompasses distinguished, highly trained specialized prosecutors, investigators and victim specialists.
  • What we do: We focus on a dual track approach to do everything in our power to help heal victims while at the same time and with equal vigor, successfully prosecute their abusers.
    • Since the inception of the unit, we have filed a total of 436 cases. (As of Aug/2017)
    • We have worked with 582 victims of Human Trafficking. (As of Aug/2017)
    • Approximately 67% are local victims
    • Approximately 32% are out of state victims

What is Human Trafficking?  

  • Merriam-Webster definition of human trafficking: Human Trafficking is the organized criminal activity in which human beings are treated as possessions to be controlled and exploited (as by being forced into prostitution or involuntary labor).
  • Florida Statute 787.06(2)(d): Human Trafficking is the transporting, soliciting, recruiting, harboring, providing, enticing, maintaining, or obtaining another person for the purpose of exploitation of that person. To read full Statute visit: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0787/Sections/0787.06.html
  • Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 Definition: defines the “severe forms of human trafficking” as: The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for:
    • sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or
    • labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. To read full statute visit: https://www.state.gov/j/tip/laws/61124.htm


What is the Difference Between Trafficking an Adult Versus a Minor?

For Adults, force, fraud and coercion required. What qualifies as force, fraud, and coercion:

        • Physical force
        • Isolation
        • Confinement
        • Predatory lending
        • Destruction or withholding of immigrations documents
        • Financial harm
        • Drugging

 For Minors under the age of 18, no force, fraud, or coercion is required.

  • A minor cannot consent to being trafficked. Human Trafficking of a minor is strict liability crime.


General Facts About Human Trafficking:

Almost every country in the world is affected by human trafficking and it exists in two forms:

  • Sexual Exploitation:
    • Prostitution
    • Stripping and Exotic Dancing
    • Webcam Acts
    • Pornography
  • Labor:
    • Restaurant work
    • Factory/Construction work
    • Begging/Peddling
    • Domestic work/child care
    • Agriculture and Landscaping
  • Other Facts:
    • Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery.
    • Many victims of human trafficking are forced to work in prostitution or the sexual entertainment industry, domestic servitude, restaurant work, janitorial work, sweatshop factory work, and migrant agricultural work
    • The age of entry into prostitution in the United State is between 12-14 years old for girls, and 11-13 years old for boys.
    • In the U.S 1 in 3 runaway teens are recruited for commercial sex within 48 hours of leaving home.
    • Forced labor and human trafficking is a $150 billion industry worldwide, and $32 billion industry in the United States.

 Florida Facts Regarding Human Trafficking 

    • Florida ranks #3 in the nation for Human Trafficking
    • Half of the sex victims in the U.S are 17 years old or younger
    • In Miami-Dade approximately 40% of our total victims are minors, and 60% are adults (average age of adult being 18-23 years old).
    • In Miami-Dade, 96% of our minor victims are females, and 92% of our adult victims are female.


How YOU Can Help End Human Trafficking

Although  human trafficking can be kept hidden behind closed doors, many human trafficking victims and situations can be right under your nose. By knowing the signs, everyone has the ability to discover and prevent human trafficking.

    • Signs of Human Trafficking: (The following red flags may be indicators that a person is being commercially sexually exploited)
      • Living with employer
      • Signs of physical abuse
      • Branding (Tattoos)
      • New unexplained jewelry/clothing
      • Controlled communication
      • “Boyfriend” who is controlling
      • Poor living conditions
      • Multiple People in cramped space
      • Inability to speak to individual alone
      • Inconsistencies in retelling of events, scripted or “rehearsed” response
      • Unpaid or paid very little
      • Change in appearance
      • Numerous STDs and pregnancies


    • Behavior signs: (The following behavior signs may be indicators that a young person is being commercially sexually exploited)
      • Fear, depression, paranoia or anxiety
      • Discusses sexual situations that aren’t age appropriate
      • Uses slang that is only used in sex – industry
      • Pimp (boyfriend) and associates are referred to as “family”
      • Socializes/stays in motels/hotels that are zones for prostitution
      • Repeat Runaway incidents
      • Is always in the company of/dates older men
      • Attachment to cellular phone
      • Unexcused absences from school
      • Minor has difficulty providing year of birth


    • Where to Report Suspected Human Trafficking Activity:
      • State Attorneys Human Trafficking Unit Number → 305-547-0749
      • State Attorney’s Office Human Trafficking Hotline → 305-350-5567
      • Human Trafficking Miami Hotline → 305-350-5567
      • Florida Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-800-96-ABUSE
      • Call 911


Information for Victims

It is the intent of the Florida  Legislature that the perpetrators of human trafficking be penalized for their illegal conduct and that the victims of trafficking be protected and assisted by this state and its agencies (Florida Statute 787.06(1)(d)). As such, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office is dedicated to helping victims of Human Trafficking.

  • Victim Rights:
    • Confidentiality: Any information that makes the victim identifiable is confidential.
    • Petition to Expunge
      • A human trafficking victim may petition for the expunction of a criminal history record, including arrests and convictions, for an offense committed while the person was a victim of Human Trafficking, and the offense was committed as part of the human trafficking scheme of which the person was a victim or at the direction of an operator scheme. (Florida Statute 943.0583). To read the statute click on the following link.
      • Important Factors to Know:
        • No limitation on how many arrests or convictions can be expunged
        • Excludes offenses listed in 775.084(1)(b)(1)
        • Petitioner must certify he or she has no other pending petition before any other court
      • How do you apply?
        • Forms to use:
          • 3.989(e) Petition to Expunge/Human Trafficking Victim
          • 3.989(f) Affidavit in Support of Petition
          • 3.989(g) Order to Expunge; Human Trafficking Victim
          • For Forms, please click here.


Victim Resources


Crimes Compensation

  • Who can get compensation?
    • A victim or intervenor as defined in Chapter 960 of the Florida Statutes.
    • A surviving spouse, parent, child or sibling of a deceased victim.
    • A guardian applying for a minor, incompetent person, or minor child or sibling of a deceased victim.
    • A minor present at the scene of a crime who suffered psychological or psychiatric injury as a result of the crime or a minor victim of child abuse who suffered a mental injury.
    • A relative applying on behalf of a deceased victim, when no other source of payment for funeral expenses is available.
    • Any other person who was dependent for principal support upon a deceased victim or intervenor.
  • What are the Requirements to Apply? (Additional qualification criteria, deadlines and exceptions not listed may apply)
    • Crime must be reported to law enforcement within 72 hours.
    • Victims must suffer personal physical injury or death as the result of a crime. Some exceptions and limited benefits may apply for victims who sustained psychiatric or psychological injury from certain crimes.
    • Application must be filed within one year after the crime date or within two years if good cause is shown for the filing delay.
    • Victim must fully cooperate with law enforcement, the State Attorney’s Office, and the Attorney General’s Office.
    • Victim must not have been engaged in an unlawful activity at the time of the crime.
    • Victim’s conduct must not have contributed to the situation that brought about his or her own injuries.
    • Victim or applicant must not have been confined or in custody in a county or municipal facility; a state or federal correctional facility; or a juvenile detention, commitment, or assessment facility; adjudicated as a habitual felony offender, habitual violent offender, violent career criminal; or adjudicated guilty of a forcible felony offense.
    • Relocation claims for victims of domestic violence who have an immediate need to escape a domestic violence environment must be filed through and certified by a domestic violence center in the State of Florida. The application and certification must be received by the department within 30 days from the date of crime.
    • Relocation claims for victims of sexual battery who need to relocate due to a reasonable fear for their continued safety must be filed through and certified by a rape crisis center in the State of Florida.
    • Relocation claims for victims of sexual human trafficking who have an urgent need to escape from an unsafe environment directly related to the human trafficking offense. The need must be filed through and certified by a domestic violence center in the State of Florida. The application and certification must be received by the department within 45 days from the last identifiable threat from the human trafficking offender which was communicated to law enforcement.
  • What information is required to apply?
    • A completed and signed victim compensation claim application. Click here http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/RMAS-9P7GFD/$file/VictimCompClaimFormEng.pdf
    • A law enforcement offense report documenting proof of a compensable crime.
    • Proof of crime-related expenses, such as itemized bills.
    • Proof of third-party payments, such as insurance, restitution, judgments or settlements.
    • For relocation benefits, certification by a certified domestic violence shelter or rape crisis center (depending on benefit selection).
  • How do you apply?
    • Submit a completed and signed claim application via email to vcintake@myfloridalegal.com, via fax to 850-414-5779 or 850-414-6197, or via mail to the address below: Bureau of Victim Compensation The Capitol, PL-01 Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050
  • What are the possible Benefits you can receive? Only those expenses directly related to the crime will be considered for payment. All benefits have dollar limitations, subject to change without prior notice and require certain types of documentation. Some benefits are not available for certain types of claims.
    • Wage loss for an employed victim who missed work as the result of a crime related injury or a parent/guardian who had to care for a minor child recovering from a crime related injury.
    • Loss of support for persons who were principally dependent on a deceased victim who was employed and earned income, or who was eligible for reemployment assistance benefits, at the time of the crime.
    • Disability allowance when the victim becomes permanently disabled as a result of the crime.
    • Funeral/burial expenses.
    • Treatment expenses for medical, non-medical remedial care, or other medically necessary services. Includes prescriptions, eyeglasses, dentures, or prosthetic devices needed as a result of the crime.
    • Mental health and grief counseling.
    • Property loss reimbursement for victims age 60 or older or disabled adults. The crime must be reported to the proper authorities within 72 hours and only certain types of tangible property are compensable.
    • Domestic violence relocation assistance for victims who have an immediate need to escape a domestic violence environment.
    • Sexual battery relocation assistance for victims who need to relocate due to a reasonable fear for their continued safety.
    • Human trafficking relocation assistance for victims who have an urgent need to escape from an unsafe environment directly related to the human trafficking offense.


  • Financial and Job Assistance: Referral from the State Attorney’s Office Required, call hotline – Human Trafficking Miami Hotline → 305-350-5567
    • Americans for Immigrant Justice
    • IRC

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