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The money would be used to set up a safe house, said Laurie Wisotsky, director of the new chapter.
The pandemic has changed how traffickers work in ways that are raising alarms among advocates, who say they are seeing more victims requesting help. The reduced demand for prostitution has prompted some traffickers to abandon their victims, leaving them in unfamiliar locations with no means to live.
Tampa nonprofit opens florida's first safe house for boys forced into sex trade
At the same time, those still being pressed into prostitution are at risk for contracting the virus. The outbreak also has hastened a push by many human traffickers to move their operations online, with pornography production and efforts on social media to recruit young victims. While local law enforcement officials report no uptick in human trafficking activity, advocates say they have seen changes in their work that do not bode well for victims.
Petersburg Police spokeswoman Yolanda Fernandez said the recent cancellation of the WrestleMania 36 event in Tampa prevented an anticipated spike. Traffickers often create fake profiles, posing as teenagers or as modeling agencies or music producers wanting to collaborate, Wisotsky said. They seek out teens who rant about fights with parents or seem emotionally vulnerable in posts, she said.
The grooming process, Wisotsky said, is similar to that of any predator and can take from a week to a year and a half. Losasso said the average age girls enter trafficking is Jillian Penhale, director of the nonprofit Created, said her group has seen an increase in the of women seeking help through its hour hotline. Created currently houses 11 residents and works with about 79 women a week, Penhale said. Losasso said he has heard of this, too. The Dream Center offers trauma counseling among other services, but some were put on hold due to social distancing measures.
But when they do go out, they are often seen in grocery stores and airports. She said s for the public to look for include malnourishment, accompaniment by a partner who seems physically controlling or aggressive, a lack of eye contact and tattoos of dollar s, diamonds, bar codes or crowns — all symbols of branding that traffickers use to mark their victims. Subscribe Manage my subscription Activate my subscription Log in Log out. Regions Tampa St. Letters to the Editor Submit a Letter. Investigations Narratives Pulitzer Winners.
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In a florida county, sex workers are ensnared in ‘trafficking’ raids
The pandemic is taking a toll on human trafficking victims, Tampa Bay advocates say Traffickers are abandoning their victims, placing them at risk of getting sick and working online to recruit vulnerable teens. By Divya Kumar. Published May 26, Pinellas center helps victims as young as 6.
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