TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Local and state leaders are holding several events to mark Human Trafficking Awareness Day on Monday, including a press conference to announce the results of a human trafficking bust in Tampa Bay.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office arrested 71 people after a 2-year-long investigation into human trafficking in Tampa. Sheriff Chad Chronister announced the arrests Monday morning.
Why is Tampa such a hotspot for human trafficking? Chronister said it’s not just Tampa.
“There’s a lot of different reasons,” he said. “I think it’s not just Tampa, it’s the state of Florida. I think it’s the warmer climates […] When you’re cold, you’re not out walking around.”
Florida’s Attorney General Ashley Moody also spoke Monday about how the hotel industry is preparing to stop human trafficking head of the Super Bowl. The No Room for Trafficking Program helps train thousands of hotel employees to spot and stop human trafficking.
And last week, the Hillsborough County Sheriff discussed a new program aimed at protecting students from becoming victims.
“The monumental task is far from over. We’re a month away from hosting the super bowl. As with any large event, human traffickers are gearing up for big business,” Chronister said.
Even the airport is getting on board. They now have digital billboards to let travelers know about human trafficking and exploitation.