State program aims to prevent sex trafficking

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TAMPA — Flanked by law enforcement officers, Attorney General Pam Bondi last week unveiled her statewide initiative intended to raise awareness about human trafficking and to help parents protect their children from online sex traffickers. The initiative, “From Instant Message to Instant Nightmare,” debuts on billboards, bus shelters, and mall displays throughout Florida. Parents and adults are directed to MyFloridaLegal.com to download a parental tip sheet about online safety and a pledge for children to sign and print. The pledge can be taped to people’s home computers to serve as a reminder of safe Internet use. Victims of human trafficking include children, women and men who are subjected to sexual exploitation or forced labor through force, fraud or coercion.

“By raising awareness about human trafficking and asking parents to play an active role in preventing sex traffickers from recruiting their children online, we can help stop this horrific crime,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi. “According to one report, the average age of children recruited into sex trafficking is between 12 and 14 years old.”

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